Four persons, including a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy, are before the Economic and Financial Court in Accra for allegedly causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢61 million.
They are Alexander Azangebila Aduko, businessman; Stanley Quarcoopome Barnor, former Chief Director, Ministry of Energy; Robert Charles Rexford Nikoi Ashie, a retired Principal Accountant at the Ministry and one Dinah Hammond.
According to the prosecution led by Charles Wilcox Ofori, an Assistant State Attorney, the accused persons between 2004 and 2009, with a common purpose, conspired and deliberately schemed to cause financial loss to the state in the said amount when they fraudulently authored and signed a guarantee for a loan facility from NDK Financial Services, Fidelity Bank Limited, Ecobank Ghana Limited, Securities Discount House (SDH) and Zenith Bank Limited to Ahaman Enterprise Limited.
Mr Wilcox Ofori said the money, meant for the haulage of electrical material for the Rural Electrification Project by Ahaman Limited, was expended on unrelated activities instead of the intended purpose.
Alexander, Stanley and Robert are each facing an additional charge of causing financial loss to the state in the sum of GH¢61 million.
Before Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, the accused persons, except Diana who was absent, denied the charges.
They were each admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢40 million each with three sureties each, one to be justified in the sum of GH¢200,000.
This was after their lawyers had made an application for bail.
The lawyers – Addo Attuah, Prince Frederick Nii Ashie Neequaye and Charles Abbia – had variously argued that the charges preferred against the accused persons were bailable and that the offence was not among those the judge could not consider for bail.
Sitting continues on February 12.
Between the said period, Alexander in his capacity as Managing Director of Ahaman Limited won a contract from the Ministry of Energy for the haulage of electrical poles and other electrical materials with respect to the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP).
The prosecution said Alexander, without the notice of the banks, procured documents covering a property situated at Dansoman, Accra, which he had no interest in, adding that the accused, without knowing the location of the purported building or how much it was worth, presented same to NDK.
Mr Ofori said due to the inadequacy of the collateral, Alexander sought and obtained an undertaking from the Ministry of Power to the effect that all payments would be made in the names of Ahaman and NDK.
He stated that to undertake the project, Alexander heavily relied on the said undertaking and sought loan facilities from NDK and the other banks.
The State Attorney indicated that
as part of the requirements of the loan facilities Alexander was requested to post collateral but when he presented it, it was not commensurate with the loan amount.
The court heard that Stanley, who was the then Chief Director acting on behalf of the Energy Ministry, signed the undertaking which he did not have power to do.
“During interrogation the 2nd accused (Stanley) admitted that he signed the undertaking as a result of information and recommendation from the Power Directorate,” the Principal State Attorney told the court.
Mr Ofori maintained that Robert, then the Principal Accountant at the ministry, who was in-charge of all funds, made money available to his outfit where he and Stanley jointly signed the said undertaking on behalf of the ministry.
He said Alexander stated that he met Dinah, the then new Chief Director, and informed her to vary payments in respect of the contract to only Ahaman instead of joint names of Ahaman Enterprises and NDK in order to defray the debt owed Allied Oil.
The State Attorney intimated that investigation revealed that Dinah at all times knew the nature and existence of the said undertaking but did not do anything about it in her capacity as the Chief Director, but continued authorising payments.
Mr Ofori emphasised that due to the action of Alexander, Stanley and Robert, the state had been called upon by the said banks to pay the GH¢61 million.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson