Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Accused person in gold deal granted permission to travel

 April 9, 2013 (Page 3 Lead)

The Accra Circuit Monday granted permission to one of the persons accused of playing a role in the illegal shipment of 1.5 tonnes of gold worth $52 million to Turkey to travel to Nigeria to seek medical care.
Alhaji Musah Ahmed, the lawyer for Peter Kofi Bedzra, a miner, had prayed the court to review its bail conditions and allow his client to travel to Nigeria for medical care.
The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Patience Mills-Tetteh, a High Court judge with additional responsibility as a Circuit Court judge, had, on February 26, 2013, granted Bedzra bail in the sum of GH¢100,000, with three sureties.
Bedzra had also been ordered to surrender his passport to the BNI and report himself to the national investigative body on Fridays.
Following counsel’s plea to the court to review the bail conditions, it gave the accused person permission to retrieve his passport from the BNI.
The legal team for a third accused person, Joseph Kwame Donkor, prayed the court to order the BNI to release Donkor’s vehicle to him.
The court refused the request and advised the legal team to repeat the application on May 6, 2013, the next adjourned date.
A second accused person, Frank Mould, alias Ebo, a forwarding agent, who was first put before the court on March 19, 2013 and remanded, has been granted bail by the Accra High Court.
All the three accused persons were in court.
Bedzra has pleaded not guilty to one count of forgery of document, contrary to Section 158 of the Criminal Code 1960, Act 29, while Mould has pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime and uttering forged documents, contrary to Section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Donkor, the third person to be picked up by the BNI, is also a trader and Managing Director of Joedith Ventures Limited.
He pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment and was granted bail in the sum of GH¢100,000, with two sureties, on March 22, 2013. He was also ordered to report himself to the BNI on Fridays.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr A. A. Annor,  Bedzra had, on December 31, 2012, allegedly forged certain documents, including a Geological Survey Department certificate for mineral samples numbered OC5/6/12/13, Bank of Ghana foreign exchange Form 4A with the serial number 14317261 and goods movement certificate No. A296968 to enable him to export 1,500 kilogrammes of gold to Dubai.
Mould, for his part, is alleged to have, on December 31, 2012, aided and abetted Bedzra to forge the documents, as well as uttered forged documents, to aid Bedzra evade the requirement under the law by exporting the 1.5 tonnes of gold.
According to the prosecution, Donkor abetted Bedzra to ship the gold to Turkey without undergoing the stipulated legal requirement before the shipment.
The facts of the case are that Mould, who is a forwarding agent, operates at the KIA. In December 2012, Valid Moradi Moghaddam and his partners, all Arabs, arrived in Ghana to purchase gold.
They got in touch with Omanye Gold Mining Limited which sold to them a quantity of gold weighing 1.5 tonnes and valued at $52 million.
According to the prosecution, the buyers packed the gold into 30 boxes for export to Dubai.
The prosecution informed the court that Mould was contracted to process the consignment for export and ,in the process, he aided Bedzra to forge documents of the Geological Survey Department, Bank of Ghana foreign exchange forms and goods movement certificate in order to ship the said 30 boxes through customs and other security checks at the KIA and subsequently exported the said consignment to Dubai on December 31, 2012.
It said on December 29, 2012, a chartered cargo plane arrived at the KIA to carry the consignment to Dubai.
The prosecution said the cargo aircraft containing the gold was, however, intercepted and detained in Turkey because documents accompanying the gold appeared not to be genuine.
Investigations are ongoing.

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