The long held view that in Ghana a rich man does not face criminal trial or go to jail when found guilty of a crime, is being rewritten by the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, has directed Her Lordship Naa Adoley Azu to hear the case of property fraud brought against Prince Kofi Amoabeng, and ensure that it is prosecuted to its logical conclusion.
The A-G’s decision follows desperate attempts by lawyers for the two accused persons namely, Mr. Amoabeng, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UT Bank and Financial Holdings and John Aidoo, the lawyer for State Housing Company (SHC), to have the docket retrieved from the court, after a little over year’s of legal battle.
The Herald learnt that early this year, the lawyers for the two accused persons jointly petitioned the Director of Prosecutions at A-G’s office, asking for the withdrawal of the case from the Circuit Court, for no apparent reason. But the A-G in a letter fired by one Mrs. Mamatta, threw rotten eggs on their faces by directing that the case be prosecuted to its logical conclusion.
In court last Wednesday, March, 27 the lawyer for the second accused person, John Aidoo, was spotted looking somewhat dejected when news got to them that the Attorney-General’s department has directed that the case be heard.
Her Lordship Naa Adoley Azu was not in court because she was indisposed; proceedings were adjourned to Tuesday, April 22 for hearing.
Mr. Amoabeng who was adjudged the most respected CEO for 2012 while his company UT Bank was also adjudged the most respected company for the year 2012 is facing trial for property fraud with a solicitor of the State Housing Company (SHC), John Aidoo.
Mr. Amoabeng, who is also the patron of ‘’Johnnie Walker’’, a strong dry gin has been accused by one Naa Otuah Swayne, a novelist, of clandestinely releasing her land title documents on her house at Ringway Estates in Osu-Accra, to procure a loan from the Home Finance Company (HFC) bank.
The documents were in the custody of Mr. Amoabeng, but was secretly given out to the late Alexander Adjei to use as a mortgage in securing a loan of GH¢ 1, 279,000 from HFC bank. Shockingly, the said house called “Naa Otuah Plaza” is now the property of Mr. Amoabeng, who is using it for a hotel and shopping mall.
The property was reshaped and renamed Alexander Hotel Plaza without Mr Amoabeng paying a dime to its owner, Madam Swayne. The once vibrant mother of three, is now homeless, and the cost of getting the ear’s of the Attorney-General, the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) as well as getting a lawyer to handle a civil suit against Mr. Amoabeng, has been a very distressing enterprise.
The prosecutor on the case, DSP Aidan Dery, who is battling about nine lawyers, who are working for both Mr. Amoabeng and the other accused person, has informed the court that in October 2005, the complainant decided to sell her house and subsequently entered into a sale and purchase agreement with the late Alexander Adjei, the supposed buyer.
The complainant agreed to sell the said house for US$280,000, and Mr. Adjei was supposed to pay the money in three installments.
Madam Swayne, who is a vendor, was due to travel to the United Kingdom (UK), was introduced to UT Bank where she was to borrow an amount of GH¢25, 000 using the house as a collateral.
Madam Sawyne said she prepared and signed a deed of assignment with a condition that the final transaction would be witnessed by one Lawyer Martin Nwosu, and handed over to the buyer after full payment of the purchase price had been made to her.
The prosecutor, however, explained that on September 27, 2007, a solicitor of the State Housing Company (SHC) Mr. John Aidoo, without recourse to Madam Swayne, wrote a letter to SHC claiming it that the deceased had duly purchased the property, therefore, SHC should consent to it by assigning the property to the late Adjei.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Amoabeng fraudulently then released the title document on the house to the late Alex Adjei, to secure a loan facility at the Home Finance Company Bank (HFC), despite knowing that the house in question was still in the name of Madam Swayne, because the purchase price had not been paid in full.
Not long after, Mr. Amoabeng was at the site of the property building as its new owner. It was later discovered that UT Bank was behind the late Alex Adjei.
Lawyer Martin Nwosu, who was to be the lawyer for Madam Swayne, the original owner of the house, was also a bosom friend of Mr. Amoabeng, who interestingly acted as lawyer for both the supposed seller and the buyer, the late Alex Adjei.
It was further discovered that Mr. Amoabeng, a day after receiving the documents on the property, started manipulating some very vital documents at Lands Commissions all in attempt to covertly appropriate the poor lady’s property.
Mr. Amoabeng, served in the Ghana Armed Forces as an accountant and rose to the rank of a Captain. Lawyer Yaw Addo Atua, a big time criminal lawyer who was once a police officer at the CID headquarters, is the one handling Mr. Amoabeng’s case.
More to come!