Thomas Osei opens defence

ja_kufuor_accident2.jpgThomas Osei, the man who drove into the President’s car has opened his
defence in the trial in which he has been charged with motor traffic
offences and use of narcotic drugs.

The
charges are dangerous driving, negligently causing harm, driving under
the influence of alcohol, failing to give way to Presidential siren and
the use of narcotic drugs.

The President escaped unhurt.

Osei
has pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against him and is
on remand. Osei who appeared at the court on Friday smartly dressed in
black suit and tie, was led in evidence by his counsel Mr. Kwame Boafo
Akuffo.

The accused said before he came to Ghana in 2000 he
was working with a private company in Japan. He said in 2001 when the
New Patriotic Party took power and Ghana went HIPC, he met the
President and other ministers of state, including former senior
Minister Mr J.H. Mensah and Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, former
Minister of Education, when they came to Japan to re-negotiate the loan
for the construction of the Kasoa-Yamoransa road, where he was a
sub-contractor.

He said because of his contacts in Japan they were able to convert the loan negotiated by the NDC government into a grant.

Osei
said on November 14, 2007 he had wanted to leave Accra around 4.30 am
for his project site but cancelled the journey around 5.30 am. He said
around 7.30 am that morning he left the house for his office after
which he left for the Landing Restaurant at the Kotoka International
Airport to have his meals.

Mr Osei said at the restaurant he
took two bottles of Gulder beer, a chicken and bought a malt drink for
a family friend who was with him. He said after the meal at the
restaurant he drove towards the Opeibea intersection from the AFGO
direction to cross to the Alliance Francaise because that was his usual
route to his office after eating at the restaurant.

The accused
said when he got to the Opeibea intersection there were two cars in
front of him which turned towards the airport direction while he
decided to go towards Alliance Francaise direction. The accused said he
did not see any Policeman directing traffic at the middle of the
intersection or hear any siren indicating the approach of the
President’s convoy contrary to what the prosecution would have the
court to believe.

Osei said when he ran into the President’s
car, four security men came around, accosted him and sent him to the
BNI for interrogation. He said at the BNI one of the President’s body
guards hit him and when he fell the security man kicked him with his
boots and he started bleeding profusely.

Osei said he was
later sent to the 37 Military Hospital for treatment and stitches for
the cut that he had at the forehead after which he was discharged.

The
accused also denied claims by the prosecution in its submission that he
(Osei) uses cocaine for sexual enhancement. "I have never used cocaine
in my life; this is character assassination," he added. He said all the
newspaper allegations against him for using cocaine were false. The
accused said he was happy to learn that the President escaped unhurt
because he harboured no malice towards him. "You know, the President is
like a father to me. I am sorry for the accident; it occurred all of
sudden." He said he had even sent people to the President to go and
apologize for what happened.

The accused further rejected the
claims by the prosecution that he was highly drunk and that was why he
did not hear the siren of the President’s convoy nor see the policeman
at the Opeibea intersection.

The case has been adjourned to June 23.

Source: GNA