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General News of Sunday, 14 August 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Three times Special Prosecutor has been publicly threatened

Kissi Agyabeng, Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyabeng, Special Prosecutor

Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor, came under fire this week after he released a report that cited a Member of the Council of State and the head of Customs for tax infractions.

The report implicated Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, owner of Labianca Company Limited and a Council of State member over influence peddling.

Dated August 3, 2022, and titled: “Report of Investigation into Alleged Commission of Corruption and Corruption Related Offences involving Labianca Group of Companies and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority,” the report indicated that the frozen foods company owner used her position to evade taxes.

Aside from the Labianca owner, another government appointee mentioned in the report was the Head of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA, Col (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoah, who is said to have looked on as the improper tax waiver was granted.

This week, the retired military man took time to hit out at the SP describing his report as hollow and charging that Agyebeng cannot taint his hard-won reputation.

Col Damoah (Rtd.) is, however, the latest to attack Agyebeng publicly. GhanaWeb recalls three instances where the anti-corruption czar has been attacked publicly.

Damoah fights 'small boy' Agyebeng

Damoah at a retreat for senior Customs officers in Kumasi described the report as 'hollow' and the Special Prosecutor as a 'small boy' who was bent on destroying his reputation.

“Three days ago a report purported to be coming from the Office of the Special Prosecutor trying to indict the Deputy Commissioner of Operations and myself [but] anybody who has read that report very well will know the basis of that.

“And luckily for Me, God is always on my side, before that report came that person had made a comment to some people who had come to tell me [that] he [Special Prosecutor] was going to publish that will discredit me…

"I sent people to go and tell him that he is a small boy and I am older than him, I have lived a meaningful life and if he attempts to destroy me it won’t be easy for him. People have tried and I have survived and this one too I will survive it,” he added.

Hopeson Adorye angry at SP

In mid-June 2022, amid the back and forth surrounding the Will of former Forestry Commission boss, Sir John, the SP initiated moves to probe the will after some public lands were allegedly willed to some individuals.

The SP's move appeared to irk some New Patriotic Party members, among them Hopeson Adorye, who in an interview on Accra-based Asempa FM, lambasted Agyebeng.

“Somebody has gotten his money and properties and says upon my demise this person should inherit them. Funds allocated to the Office of the Special Prosecutor is not being used to fight corruption.

“People are in this country engaged in corrupt acts, Special Prosecutor must arrest them. Is it somebody’s Will [to concern yourself about]? If the person was alive and found to have engaged in corruption and was being invited, no problem.

“Look at the number of corruption cases we have mentioned [but no action has been taken]. Is this what we want to use Ghana’s money for? That we waste our time on somebody’s Will being circulated on social media?” he quizzed.

He further charged the Special Prosecutor to be focused on fighting corruption cases. According to him, the state is not benefiting from his office despite providing adequate funding to run it.

“Special Prosecutor should not make his office scary a scary place as if we have entered Gonja barracks. If you go to his office, the number of soldiers on the premise is not a small thing. When they moved to the office, I was the first person to have sent a petition but he hasn’t even opened it to deal with it.

“Somebody’s Will is being circulated and all of a sudden you say you are investigating while some petitions [including mine] have been on your desk unattended to. Government spends millions in financing the office yearly.

“Show me one corruption case he has prosecuted. Even Martin Amidu’s investigated cases are still on his table,” an incensed Hopeson Adorye said.

Sir John's executor blasts SP

Charles Owusu, a close ally of the late Sir John and a major beneficiary of the controversial Will also had cause to slam the SP.

He had voluntarily submitted himself to the offices of the SP - after he was mentioned as the subject of an investigation - and was not happy with the treatment he got.

Speaking on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme Friday, June 10, 2022, Charles Owusu narrated his ordeal after he received a letter from the office of the Special Prosecutor informing him about the freeze on Sir John's assets.

According to him, despite having advanced travel plans, he went to the Special Prosecutor’s Office to announce his intent despite not being indicted in the investigations.

"After an hour, about four people entered the room I was kept in asking about Charles Owusu and I responded I am the one. They then told me they are from court to present a writ of summons to me.

After receiving the summons, an officer who initially was supposed to speak with me now appeared and took me to a corridor informing me that he would be recording our conversations. He was asking me why I had come to the office which is after they had presented me with the summons. Being in a state of shock, I replied to him that I had been in the office for a very long time."

"Then the officer said he heard I would come there at 2 pm and I asked him 'who told him?' because nobody had invited me. I came on my own accord because I was about to travel but wanted to first find out if they need me personally, so, I suspend my travel to make it easy for them to contact me. He (the officer) responded that they have a court case with Sir John on 23rd (June) but because I was his aide, I should come to the court," he narrated.

After agreeing to appear in court for the hearing, Charles Owusu said he was later prevented from leaving the SP’s office when he initially sought to leave.

"What saddens me is that, on my return to sit in a car, a soldier met me [saying] that he's been told they should not allow me to leave the premises," he said.

“If Mr. Kissi Agyebeng is listening to me, what crime have I committed? What crime? Is it a crime for me to walk with someone I love? "I can't deny Sir John. I cannot deny him. I'm very sad. I can't deny Sir John; he was a good man. He did me good; I cannot deny him!" he added.

SARA/PEN

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