The prosecution in the case in which the former Road and Transport Minister, Mr Richard Anane, and three others are accused of causing financial loss to the state may request
the Fast Track High Court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of three of the accused persons if they fail to appear before the court today – Wednesday.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Gertrude Aikins, made the prosecutionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s intent known following the inability of Dr Anane, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, a former Chief of Staff, and Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, a former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, to appear before the court yesterday.
The fourth accused person, Sammy Crabbe, a former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), was, however, present in court with his lawyers.
The four are expected to be charged with stealing, causing financial loss to the state and fraud regarding the roles they played in the formation of Ghana International Airlines (GIA) and the subsequent liquidation of Ghana Airways.
When the matter was called around 9.15 a.m., only Crabbe stood up when his name was called, prompting the trial judge to enquire of the whereabouts of the other accused persons from the prosecution, but Ms Aikins could not explain their absence and further indicated that the three had been duly informed that they were expected to appear before court yesterday.
It was later realised that the three had not been charged at all, and according to them they had no business going to court upon hearing their charges in the media.
They were subsequently charged late Tuesday and are expected in court today.
At TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sitting, counsel for Sammy Crabbe, Mr Kwame Boateng, said he and his client did not know which specific court was scheduled to hear the case and for that reason they had to roam from one court to another before they finally got to know that the matter was before Mr Justice Bright Mensah.
Replying, Ms Aikins reminded counsel that the matter was a serious one, especially when the accused persons had duly been informed about the court which was billed to hear the matter.
According to the state, Dr Anane allegedly misrepresented facts on GIA, which was then not in existence, to Cabinet and misled the then government to pay shares into a fraudulent company.
His action, according to the state, also led to the liquidation of Ghana Airways.
Dr Osei allegedly signed a loan agreement committing the government to a financial obligation of paying GHÃ‚Â¢ 15 million to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
The SSNIT gave the said amount to the GIA as a loan, without parliamentary approval and at a time when the minority shareholders of the airline had abandoned the company.
Mr Mpiani is alleged to have authorised the release of funds into the GIA, without parliamentary approval.
According to the prosecution, which is yet to read the facts of the case to the court, Crabbe, who represented minority shareholders in the company, on June 27, 2005 withdrew $1.9 million from the government of Ghana’s account, without approval from the government (majority shareholder).
It said Dr Anane declared that four companies had expressed interest in the then Ghana Airways and later presented a letter of intent which was signed between the government of Ghana and the GIA to form a new company called the New Ghana Airways (NGA), although the GIA was at that time not in existence.
It said although PriceWaterhouseCoopers had rated the NGA, which had signed an agreement with the government to form the GIA, third beneath KLM and Ghanaair, two companies which had also bid for Ghana Airways, the NGA won the bid.
It said although the memorandum Dr Anane presented to Cabinet to sign was dated September 9, 2004, the GIA was not in existence as of September 9, 2004.
It said GIA-USA-LLC was formed in Utah, USA, on September 10, 2004 and further pointed out that Dr Anane misrepresented those facts to Cabinet and fraudulently misled it to pay for shares into a fraudulent company.
According to the state, Mr Mpiani, on June 2, 2005, wrote to the chairman of the government task force on Ghana Airways Limited authorising the task force to take all necessary steps to put the airline into formal liquidation.
The GIA was subsequently formed as a joint venture between the government of Ghana and GIA/USA/LLC, as a result of which the GIA had its maiden flight on October 29, 2005.