Thursday, February 4, 2010 (Page 3 Lead)
THE Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday withdrew its order which directed that the passports of a former Minister of Information, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, and his wife, Zuleika, be confiscated.
It, however, directed the two, who are standing trial with seven others over GH¢86,915.85 renovation works at the ministry, to inform the court anytime they decided to travel out of the jurisdiction.
At the court's sitting in Accra yesterday, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, rescinded its decision when counsel for the couple, Nene Amegacher, asked it to review the October 2009 decision which directed that Asabee’s and his wife’s passports be seized.
Nene Amegacher had prayed the court to review its decision, especially when the court had given his clients the chance to apply for their passports to be returned after two months of the order, but a Chief State Attorney, Mr Anthony Gyambiby, opposed the application on the grounds that the rights of persons standing trial were limited, according to law.
Upholding Nene Amegacher’s submissions, Mr Justice Quist said it had been four months since he gave the order and for that reason he would withdraw his earlier order for the confiscation of the passports of the two.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng and his wife are standing trial with a former Deputy Information Minister, Mr Frank Agyekum; Kofi Asamoah-Boateng, a former Director of Finance and Administration at the Ministry of Information; Kwabena Denkyira, a former Deputy Director of Finance and Administration at the ministry; Yasmin Domua, a manageress; Prosper Aku of Supreme Procurement Agency Ltd and the company as an entity.
Sampong is facing six counts of conspiracy, contravention of the Procurement Act, attempt to defraud, altering document and deceit of public officer, while Agyekum has been charged with conspiracy, contravention of provision, attempt to defraud and deceit of public officer.
Domua, a manageress and cousin of Zuleika’s, who was absent at the first sitting, was charged with only conspiracy to commit crime after which she was granted a GH¢10,000 with two sureties.
Kofi Asamoah-Boateng faces six counts of forgery of official document, possession of forged document and forgery and possession of false document, while Denkyira also faces only a charge of conspiracy.
Prosper has also been charged with four counts of possessing and forgery of document of architects, engineering certificate and false tender document.
All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have all been admitted to bail.
Later at the court’s sitting, the outgoing Minister of Information, Mrs Zita Okaikoi, told the court, during cross- examination from Mr Atta Akyea, counsel for Denkyira, that the accused arranged an oral meeting with some of the other accused persons which led to the award of the contract to the company.
She insisted that she did the right thing by exposing irregularities in the award of the contract which could have cost the state GH¢30,000.
Answering questions under cross-examination from counsel for Sampong, Mr Augustine Obour, Mrs Okaikoi said Sampong apologised for signing for the payment of the contract and stated that she would submit a recording of the apology to the court on the next adjourned date.
She also promised to furnish the court with the exact amount which could have been lost by the state on the next adjourned date.
Hearing continues on February 11, 2010.