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General News of Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Source: Daily Dispatch

Rawlings Denies Allegations

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Original Story in Norwegian: 1 | 2

Ex-President J.J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings have denied allegations made in a Norwegian High Court that they were paid millions of United States dollars as bribes from the giant Norwegian cement company, SCANCEM.
A report in the April 21-22 2007 issue of the mass circulation Norwegian magazine, DN Magasinet reported an ongoing case in the Asker and Baerum High Court since October 2005.

The Norwegian cement company SCANCEM, is accusing one of its employees, Tor Egil Kjelsaas for stealing.

But Kjelsaas, in his defence, is alleging that he paid various sums of monies as bribes to very high ranking members of government in Ghana, Togo and Nigeria with the main aim of ensuring that SCANCEM maintained its monopoly over cement production and distribution in these countries.

Mr Kjelsaas is reported to have told the court that he paid the ex-President (Rawlings), his wife Nana Konadu, P.V. Obeng (Former Special Adviser to Rawlings) and 11 others.

The reports quotes him as saying there were two anonymous bank accounts in Unibank SA in Luxemborg and Barclays Bank SA in Geneva, Switzerland earmarked for Ghana in which those bribes were paid.

Between 1993 and 1998, a total of US$150,000 were allegedly paid into these two accounts.

However, The Daily Dispatch, quoting sources close to the Rawlingses says they have denied the allegation, claiming "these are some of the numerous lies that have been spread about them.”
According to the Dispatch, the Rawlingses are treating the allegations “with the contempt such lies deserve."
On his part, P.V. Obeng had told the Norwegian magazine that he only received monies for consulting work done for the company.

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