February 21, 2012 (Front page)
A former Deputy Minister of Education and Sports in the Kufuor administration, Mr O.B. Amoah, was yesterday charged with two counts of corruption and willfully causing financial loss to the state.
That was after he had been arrested on Sunday night in connection with the payment of the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman.
He was released on bail in the sum of GH¢20 million with two sureties.
He is the fifth person to be picked up, aside from Woyome, who allegedly made false claims to receive GH¢51.2 million in judgement debt; Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, a Chief State Attorney, Mr Paul Asimenu, the Director of Legal Services at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and Mrs Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, Nerquaye-Tetteh’s.
As soon as Mr Amoah was released about 4.15 p.m, a large crowd of New Patriotic Party (NPP) faithful, family members and sympathisers surged forward to carry him shoulder high amid excitement and jubilation.
Earlier in the morning, NPP heavyweights, including the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu; the General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, aka Sir John, several Members of Parliament, family members, friends and sympathisers besieged the premises of the Police Headquarters to give Mr Amoah moral support.
The National Youth Organiser of the NPP, Mr Anthony Karbo, expressed concern over the mode of Mr Amoah’s arrest, saying the police did not obtain explicit permission from the Speaker of Parliament to release Mr Amoah to them, as the law prescribed.
He said the NPP, as a party, was not against individuals being invited to help in investigations but maintained that due process must be followed.
Mr Thaddeus Sory, who was at the CID offices before 9 a.m. to secure bail for Mr Amoah, took a swipe at the police for attempting to humiliate and intimidate his client.
He accused the police, who had picked up his client from his home between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., of mischief and maintained that “they could have acted more professionally”.
He said his client had denied any wrongdoing and submitted a written statement to the police.
Mr Sory was particularly disappointed at the failure of the police to reply to a letter he had written on February 15, 2012, in which he had indicated his client’s willingness to assist in investigations with regard to the payment of the GH¢51.2 million to Woyome, who is currently standing trial for fraud.
In the said letter, counsel said, he had indicated to the police to state the venue, date and time for his client to report and submit a written statement on what is now known as the Woyome saga.
“Rather than reply our letter, which clearly stated our intention and willingness to co-operate with investigations, they resorted to taking him off guard by effecting his arrest on a Sunday night,” counsel blurted.
“We find it strange that on a Sunday night, without any prior request that he should make himself available to assist in investigations, you go and effect his arrest,” Mr Sory pointed out, and maintained that the police could have done a better and more professional job.
Counsel argued that the action of the police “gives us the impression that there is more to it than a desire to do justice”.
He further stated that the Attorney-General was currently before the courts contending that the state owed Woyome no liability and for that reason whatever his client was alleged to have jointly or severally done did not incur any liability.
Mr Sory said his client had vehemently denied any wrongdoing and was prepared to clear his name.
He also found it most unfortunate the refusal of the police to grant his client bail on Sunday, especially when Mr Amoah had all along declared his intention to fully co-operate with investigations.
Mr Amoah was Deputy Sports Minister in the erstwhile Kufuor administration when contracts awarded for the construction of stadia ahead of the CAN 2008 tournament were cancelled and re-awarded.
Mr Amoah was reported to have instructed the construction firm Waterville Holdings to move to site ahead of a formal contract for the rehabilitation of the Accra, Kumasi and El-Wak Sports stadia for CAN 2008.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Waterville and the Government of Ghana formed the basis for his letter.
An interim report by EOCO said: “Mr O.B. Amoah was the Deputy Minister who gave the green light for Waterville to proceed to site and start work at the time the contract had not been approved by Parliament.”