Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kessben CEO in court Thursday

Kwabena Kesse

The Chief Executive Officer of Kessben Group of Companies, Kwabena Kesse, will be arraigned today for allegedly laundering $127 million within 14 months.
Kesse is being held with three officials of the Stanbic Bank for allegedly facilitating the laundering of the said cash.
It is, however, not clear if the three bank officials will also be put before court or set free from BNI cells.
The four were picked up on Tuesday, July 29, 2014.
A highly-placed source at the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that Kesse, through one of its companies, KESSBEN Shipping, Forwarding and Trading Limited (KSFTL), allegedly engaged in “fraudulent documentation to facilitate the outward transfer of large volumes of foreign exchange to spurious and phony addresses, using its bank account with Stanbic Bank.”
According to the BNI, Kesse committed the allegedly fraudulent acts between January 2013 and February 2014.
“In 2013 alone, the company transferred $112,814,179.65 through the bank to so-called shippers, whereas the invoices issued did not bear the official addresses and telephone numbers of the shippers. Yet still, in January 2013 and February 2014, the company transferred $15,117.548 out of the country under similar pretences. Interestingly, some of the shippers referred to by the company were individuals rather than firms or business entities,” the preliminary facts of the case noted.

Issues with Bill of Lading

According to the BNI, it had examined various Bills of Lading KSFTL presented to the bank which revealed “startling and remarkable differences between the description of the purported imported items as stated and the corresponding invoices from the shippers. 
Some of the Bill of Lading had no description of detailed goods or unit price. Outrageously, some did not indicate the suppliers or their addresses.”

Checks at Bank of Ghana

According to the preliminary facts of the case, checks at the Bank of Ghana disclosed that a Bill of Lading was usually required to provide a brief description of goods and place of issue but in this instance “it has been revealed that in many instances, the Bill of Lading provided to Stanbic Bank by KSFTL merely described the goods as 1 Lot Assorted Goods.”
“Strangely, some Bill of Lading did not state the place of issue while huge bills were still quoted” the preliminary facts stated and further noted that “some goods were ordered in one country and shipped in another. The irregularities are numerous.” 
“KSFTL, over a period of just 14 months …, siphoned an amount of $127,931,727.65 and transferred same to unknown foreign destinations/sources, using fake documentation. 

Checks at Customs Division

According to the facts gathered, checks at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) so far pointed to the fact that the “Bill of Lading used by KSFTL for which millions of dollars were taken out of the country illegally could be fake as they could not be identified when entered into the system.
The implication is that no such documents had been used to clear goods at the port. As such, no goods of that nature were imported into the country at all, yet millions of dollars were taken out of the country in the name of such non-existent freight.”

Stanbic Bank denies wrongdoing

According to the preliminary facts, Stanbic Bank denied any wrongdoing and “insists that due diligence for adequacy, accuracy and authenticity was done as humanly possible.”
It said the BNI was yet to confirm the position of the bank as investigation was ongoing.

Ex-worker drags Tullow to court

A 35-year-old woman has dragged Tullow Ghana Limited to the Human Rights Court over work-related injury.
Pearl Margaret Ashley, a social worker and graduate from the University of Ghana, is demanding GH¢10 million from her former employer for providing her with a chair which has caused permanent injury to her back.
According to  Ms Ashley she has suffered permanent injury which has made it impossible for her to pursue a new job or seek higher education.
She is, therefore, praying the court to order the defendant to put her on a medical insurance scheme available to its employees and bear her medical expenses relating to her back injury.
Aside the GH¢10 million damages she is seeking, the plaintiff is pleading with the court to grant any other order it deems fit.

Statement of claim

A statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons filed on behalf of the plaintiff by Mr Bright Akwetey said Ms Ashley was employed by Tullon on July 1, 2009 as a community social relations officer at its branch office in Takoradi and was given an office in the defendant’s premises at the old PTC Building in Takoradi, now known as Bay Court.
“In the office, the plaintiffs furniture comprised a chair and a table.  She used the allocated chair and table for the three years and nine months, July 1, 2009 - April 17, 2013, that she worked as an employee of the defendant.  The plaintiff worked hard in the assigned department and carried out her duties with all commitment and due diligence,” the statement of claim said.
According to the plaintiff, she had to undergo a rigid medical examination at the West African Rescue Association (WARA), a medical facility approved by the defendant, to ensure her suitability for the job because the job was physically demanding.
It said Ms Ashley passed the rigid medical examination and was consequently employed by the defendant.


In the course of her work, particularly from the year 2010, the plaintiff said she began experiencing some discomfort at her back which made her feel tired generally.  
The discomfort assumed some regularity and began making her sick, adding that “the discomfort gradually degenerated into a sharp, uncomfortable, piercing pain which began from the back of her neck, moved down to her shoulders and further downwards to her waist and then to the hip-bone,” it indicated.
According to the plaintiff, she sought medical attention eventually but was advised by the in-house medical doctor of the company to seek medical attention at a Tullow-approved medical facility.
That medical facility eventually directed the plaintiff to seek medical treatment from a specialist chiropractor, Dr Angel Chambers, at East Legon in Accra for the appropriate examination.


“Dr Chambers diagnosed the problem to be a shift in a bone at the lower part of the plaintiff’s back which was caused by the chair she sat on to work in her office.
“To support his diagnosis, Dr Chambers made the plaintiff go off work for sometime and she realised that the pain had subsided, but immediately the plaintiff went back to work and sat on her chair, the pain returned with intensity. the plaintiff was made to undergo a series of tests which eventually revealed a deep problem of a permanent incapacitation as a result of the use of her chair.
“On realising that the chair was the cause of the injury to the plaintiff’s back and the resulting pain, Dr Chambers informed the plaintiff that she was the seventh staff of the defendant to report such a medical condition/situation,” the statement of claim continued, and further stated that Dr Chambers subsequently informed the resident medical doctor of the defendant to replace all chairs with worker-friendly ones.

Permanent damage

The statement of claim said “Dr Chambers, thereafter, put the plaintiff through a regular regime of chiropractic and physiotherapic exercises to manage the pain which the plaintiff was experiencing. Much to the shock of the plaintiff, Dr Chambers told her that the nature of the medical condition which had developed could not be cured but could only be managed for the rest of her life.”
Citing other problems such as seizures, accompanied with piercing pains at her back and other parts, the plaintiff eventually “got disillusioned with work at the defendant’s office because the medical condition worsened and became unbearable and the work became laborious, painful and uninteresting as all the defendant could do to help her was to provide an additional pillow for her chair and payment of the medical bills but not her travelling expenses to and from Accra.”

Redundancy exercise

According to Ms Ashley, she therefore took advantage of a redundancy exercise commenced by the defendant to offer to leave the services of the company and as a result was declared redundant on April 19, 2013.
She said the defendant, however, provided no solution for her permanent injury and the permanent disability inflicted on her.

Withdrawal of medical services

Per the statement of claim, the defendant withdrew medical services to the plaintiff, “thus leaving her at the mercy of a permanent agonising pain, misery, helplessness, hopelessness, discomfort and permanent incapacitation created by the chair supplied to the plaintiff by the defendant for her work.”
According to the plaintiff, the medical condition has limited her mobility, as well as made it impossible for her to seek a new job or higher education.
Meanwhile, Tullow Ghana Limited has entered conditional appearance.
Counsel for the defendant, Mr Kimathi Kuenyehia, entered the conditional appearance on behalf of the defendant.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chronology of the criminal case at the High Court against Woyome

Woyome had sued the state for a breach of contract relating to the construction of some stadia for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Ghana and was awarded a default judgement to that tune because the state failed to put in a defence.
He was arrested on February 3, 2011 after the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which was commissioned by the late President John Evans Atta Mills to investigate the matter, had implicated him for wrongdoing.

Three others
Three people suspected to have aided Woyome were also arrested. They were a Chief State Attorney, Mr Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh; his wife, Mrs Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, and the Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Paul Asimenu.
Woyome was initially charged with conspiracy, defrauding by false pretence and corrupting a public officer, while Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh was charged with conspiracy and corrupting a public officer. Asimenu and Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh were charged with abetment of crime. 
Woyome was alleged to have paid GH¢400,000 to the couple but they and Mr Asimenu were, on June 5, 2012, freed, following the state’s declaration of filing a nolle prosequi.
Woyome was, however, re-arraigned and charged with two counts of causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretence.

Indictments, resignations and dismissals
The interim report of EOCO, which was presented to the President on February 2, 2012, also indicted two former government officials under whose watch the procurement process was carried out. 
They were Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports at the time, and his deputy, Mr O. B. Amoah. But Mr Osafo-Maafo secured a court order which declared EOCO’s investigation of him as illegal.
He also testified as a prosecution witness and ended his examination-in-chief on July 30, 2012.
A fallout from the Woyome scandal led to the dismissal of the then Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Mr Martin Amidu, who later managed to secure judgement against Woyome at the Supreme Court.
It also led to the resignation of the Minister of Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who, as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, had recommended that the money be paid to Woyome.
February 3, 2012 – Woyome arrested.
Feb 6, 2012 – Woyome put before court, along with Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh, Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh and Mr Asimenu.
February 6, 2013 – Woyome remanded in custody by a court presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam.
Feb 13, 2012 – Woyome granted bail in the sum of GH¢54 million.
February 20, 2012 – Woyome’s bail reviewed and reduced to GH¢20 million. 
June 5, 2012 – Woyome and three others discharged. Woyome was, however, re-arrested and charged with two counts of causing financial loss and defrauding by false pretence. 

Prosecution witnesses
The prosecution, which has since closed its case, began calling its witnesses in June 2012.
Persons who testified on behalf of the state were Mrs Mangowa Ghanney of the MOFEP; Mr Osafo-Maafo; a former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu; Ms Yvonne Quansah of MOFEP and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mr Lionel Van Lare Dosoo.
Ms Lesley Dodoo of the Public Procurement Authority; Mr Andrea Orlandi, then Managing Director of Waterville Holdings, and Mr Ahmed Sulemana, the acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Justice, and the investigator in the case, Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr Odame Okyere, also testified.