Saturday, June 14, 2014

Interesting twist over money paid by UT Bank

Hearing of the contest over the ownership of $391,250 paid into the coffers of the Judicial Service by UT Bank took three interesting dimensions at the Financial Division of the High Court in Accra yesterday.
The first drama occurred when the lawyer for a complainant against the Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO) accused the unit of instituting terrorism and money laundering investigations on Auxesia Energy Limited when, in effect, his client did not lodge any complaint with the office.
Mr James Abiaduka, counsel for Soleushing Nigeria, one of the claimants to the money and whose complaint led to the court case, also accused EOCO of failing to conduct thorough investigations into complaints lodged by his client.
He said EOCO did “absolutely nothing” about the circumstances leading to the sale, purchase, charter and delivery of low pour fuel oil (LPFO).
An investigator at EOCO, Mr Patrick Kofi Awoonor, who was being cross-examined by the lawyer, denied the claims.

Soleushing Nigeria stole vessel
The third twist to the issue ensued when another lawyer representing Soleushing UK stated that Soleushing Nigeria had stolen the vessel which was chartered to cart LPFO to Ghana.
Cross-examining Mr Awoonor, Mr Dubik Yakubu Mahama sought to portray to the court through the investigator that Soleushing UK did, indeed, lodge a complaint with the Cape Coast police against Soleushing Nigeria over a missing vessel.
The vessel was used in carting LPFO to Ghana in 2013 but Soleushing UK lodged a complaint with the Cape Coast police to the effect that Soleushing Nigeria had stolen the vessel.
Mr Awoonor, in reply, told the court that the matter formed part of issues under investigation.
Asked if Prince Adeleke Oyinyola, who lodged a complaint against Auxesia Energy, was the owner of the vessel, the investigator said, “No, my Lord. As of now there is no document to prove the vessel belongs to Prince Adeleke.”
Prince Oyinlola’s company is demanding the $391,250 from Auxesia Energy on the grounds that the vessel which was used to cart the LPFO belonged to him.

EOCO to produce statements
Mr Awoonor had on the last adjourned date told the court that the $391,250 cheque had been altered to include the name ‘Kayode’ but stated yesterday that the issues pertaining to the cheque were not part of investigations.
The investigator also conceded that a person by name Ullirch gave a statement to EOCO to the effect that Soleushing UK had stolen his vessel.
He, however, told the court that one Errol Anthony Leushing did not report any stolen vessel to EOCO.
Mr Awoonor said he was not aware of any statements from Leushing with respect to the vessel either.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, has since granted the requests of Mr Dubik and counsel for Auxesia Energy Limited,
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, for the investigator to furnish the court with all statements and attachments connected to the case.
The court agreed with both counsel and, accordingly, directed EOCO to furnish the court with the said statements today (June 17, 2014).

Cheque not part of investigations
Answering questions under cross-examination from Mr Abiaduka, the EOCO investigator disagreed with counsel that Prince Oyinlola was not among persons who had told the EOCO that the vessel had been chartered by Earth Petroleum.
Counsel then suggested to the witness that Prince Oyinlola lodged a complaint with the Ministry of the Interior and not directly with EOCO, but the witness explained that the matter was referred to his team by his superiors.
An affidavit sworn on behalf of EOCO by Mr Awoonor was tendered in evidence. It stated, among others, that Soleushing chartered the vessel on behalf of Auxesia Energy for the transportation of LPFO for a fee of $420,000.
He also stated in the affidavit that Auxesia Energy received the LPFO and thus received value for it.
Mr Awoonor told the court that Soleushing had not been paid for carting the LPFO but Mr Dame reminded the investigator that “EOCO is not a debt collection agency”.

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