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General News of Tuesday, 15 July 2003

Source: GNA

My investigations were perfect - Witness

Accra, July 15, GNA - Detective Sergeant Amidu Imoro, the investigator of the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) divestiture case, on Tuesday told an Accra Fast Track Court that his investigations into the case were perfectly done.

Giving evidence under cross-examination at the court, which is trying four persons in connection with the case, Sergeant Imoro, the Ninth Prosecution Witness, disagreed with a suggestion by Defence Counsel that his investigations were shoddily done, because he neither interrogated major people, nor relied on bank statements and records of the company.

Sergeant Imoro, who was under cross-examination by Mr Johnny Quarshie-Idun, Counsel for Ayittey, disagreed with a suggestion that because he was working under instructions he did not consider it worthwhile to interrogate accountants and auditors.

He told the court that the investigation team interrogated all the accused persons and suspects in connection with the matter, but failed to talk to officials from Delloitte and Touche, external auditors of the company that was being investigated.

Asked by Counsel whether he was aware that Ayittey, in her caution statement to the Police, denied any knowledge about 150,000 pounds sterling she was alleged to have instructed be put into her personal accounts in Austria, Witness replied in the affirmative.

The Investigator said he was also aware of an amount of 618,000 dollars withdrawn from the coffers of GREL by its Former Managing Director, Mr Etienne Marie Popeler, which he gave to his Togolese friend.

However, Sergeant Imoro added that it did not form the basis of the Police investigations.

He said the investigation team's assignment was to look into a theft at GREL.

Witness said the Police had information about the stealing case at GREL through an informant, but stated in court that the ethics of his profession did not permit him to disclose the identity of the informant. The four accused persons are Hanny Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of the 31st December Women's Movement; Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, Former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee; Ralph Casely-Hayford, a Businessman and Sati Dorcas Ocran, a Housewife. They are being tried for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices leading to the privatisation of GREL in favour of Societe Industrielle Plantation Hevea (SIPH), a French company. All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to their various charges, and each of them on a self-recognisance bail.

Further hearing of the case has been fixed for Wednesday, July 16.