June 21 page 31
The Managing Director of Auxesia Energy Limited yesterday enumerated how the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) messed up her company.
Testifying at the Financial Division of the High Court, Mrs Faith A. Odulu, said EOCO froze her company’s account without notifying her, and to make matters worse, it decided to serve her with the freezing order a month and some days after the company’s account was frozen.
Elaborating the impact EOCO’s action has had on Auxesia Energy Limited, Mrs Odulu said the freezing of her company’s account had put both psychological and financial burden on her and the company.
Aside that the witness said the company had lost credibility with its business partners and bankers due to the manner the EOCO had treated her company.
Led by her lawyer, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, to give evidence-in-chief, Mrs Odulu said, “EOCO has caused damage to our person and the company.”
UT Guaranteed overdraft
Dispelling EOCO’s allegations of her company engaging in money laundering and financing of terrorism, Mrs Odulu said she gave EOCO all the facts to prove her company was not into such activities.
In any case, Mrs Odulu explained that the UT Bank granted her company a temporary overdraft to purchase Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) from Earth Petroleum.
Tendering in evidence documents and bank statements on the transaction, the witness said the source of money for the transaction came from UT Bank and for that reason could the UT Bank be said to be promoting money laundering and terrorism financing?
She said she was not aware the UT Bank had ever been accused by the EOCO of financing terrorist activities.
Money belongs to Auxesia Energy
Laying claim to $391,250 withdrawn from her account and paid into the coffers of the Judicial Service, Mrs Odulu said the court should not entertain other claimants, namely Soleushing Nigeria and Soleushing UK.
According to her, Auxesia Energy Limited had not conducted business with any of those companies to warrant them to claim ownership of the amount.
She said her company purchased the LPFO from Earth Petroleum, which had in turn chartered MV Soleushing, the vessel which carted the LPFO from Nigeria to Saltpond.
That according to her was a clear indication that Auxesia had business with only Earth Petroleum and for that reason the court should order the defreezing of her company’s account, and the subsequent return of the $391,250 to Auxesia Energy Limited.
Mrs Odulu produced bank statements which showed that the owner of Earth Petroleum, Elder Christopher Isibor, had indeed withdrawn various sums of money from Auxesia Energy Limited’s account to cover part of the cost of the LPFO which was discharged in April 2013.
A copy of the bank statements and other documents to prove Mrs Odulu’s claims were tendered in evidence without objection from the parties in the case.
EOCO cross examines witness
Answering questions under cross examination from counsel for EOCO, Mr Edward Cudjoe, the witness insisted she and her company were humiliated by the EOCO for two weeks before they could seek audience with the organisation.
Counsel had attempted to rebut Mrs Odulu’s testimony that she and her Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who happened to be her spouse, were sidestepped by the EOCO for two weeks, although they were honouring EOCO’s invitation.
In response to counsel’s rebuttal, Mrs Odulu elaborated the kind of humiliation they suffered by stating that she and husband/CEO reported at the EOCO offices from 6 a.m. to 6p.m. daily for two weeks.
She also cited instances when she had shared seats with persons in handcuffs while attempting to seek audience to demand explanation as to why her company’s account had been frozen.
Mrs Odulu denied first setting foot in the EOCO office on June 21, 2013 and insisted that it was rather on that day that she had access to EOCO officials after being tossed for two weeks.
In reply to Mrs Odulu’s submission that her company was not notified of the freezing order, Mr Cudjoe reminded her that the EOCO was not mandated to inform her of a freezing directive.
He sought to explain to her that her company’s account was frozen based initially on a freezing directive and not on a court order but the witness told him the issue was that her account was frozen without notification, and was only notified a month and some days after the action.
Genesis of Transaction
Mrs Odulu told the court that she was introduced to Elder Isibor by Mr Ben Antwi, who said he did not have funds to purchase the LPFO.
Asked if she knew the source of the LPFO, Mrs Odulu answered in the negative and denied an assertion by Mr Cudjoe that the vessel carrying the LPFO was held by militants until she paid $250,000 to Elder Isibor.