14 November 2012

Ghana: AG Halts Trial of Amoabeng

The Attorney General (AG) Department yesterday ordered the suspension of the on-going prosecution of the Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, who is alleged to have secretly released title documents covering a building owned by one Naa Otuah Swayne to another person, without the owner's consent.

According to the counsel for Amoabeng, Mr. Addo Attua, the AG had sent a letter to the Director of the Criminal Investigative Department (CID), ordering the suspension of the case.

However, the court, presided over by Mrs. Naa Adoley Azu went ahead with the case, indicating that the said letter was not addressed to the court, but the Director of CID.

The Prosecutor, DSP Aidan Dery, also stressed the fact that since he had not received any directive from his superior about the case, he was not in the position to suspend the proceedings.

Mr. Prince Amoabeng, who appeared before the court for the first time yesterday, since the commencement of the case on July 30, this year, after a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest, pleaded not guilty to the charge of Fraud under section 143 of Act 29/60. He was, however, admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 with two sureties.

The accused person is alleged to have acted together with John Aidoo, a lawyer, who purportedly gave the said document to one Alexander Adjei to use as a mortgage to secure a loan facility of GH¢1,279,000 from the Home Finance Company (HFC) bank.

Aidoo, who is also a solicitor secretary for the State Housing Company, had also pleaded not guilty to the charge of abetment of crime and has been admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 with two sureties. Both are expected to re-appear before the court on December 11, 2012.

DSP Dery, presenting the fact of the case before the court stated that in October 2005, the complainant decided to sell her house at Number 23 Ringway Estate in Accra, and entered into a sale and purchase agreement with the late Alexander Adjei.

The prosecution said the complainant and Adjei agreed on $280,000 as the purchase price, which was to be paid in three installments; in October, November and December 2005.

On October 14, 2005, Adjei paid $100,000 as agreed, but failed to pay for the remaining amount, the prosecutor noted, adding that the complainant, being the vendor, was due to travel to UK, so she borrowed GH¢ 25,000 from UT Financial Services and used the title deed of her house as collateral.

DSP Dery said the complainant, therefore, prepared and signed a deed of assignment conditionally, in respect of sale transaction with the understanding that the final transaction will be witnessed by her lawyer, one Martin Nwousu, and handed over to the buyer, upon full payment of the purchase price.

According to the prosecutor, on May 22, 2006, Adjei, now deceased, used the complainant's title deed, which was at all times in the custody of Mr. Amoabeng to obtain a loan facility from HFC Bank.

According to him, on September 27, 2007, Kofi Amoabeng, without recourse to the complainant, wrote a letter to State Housing Company informing them that Adjei had purchased the complainant's house and requested them to issue their consent to assign the property to Adjei.

John Aidoo, having records that the complainant owned the property in question, signed a letter of consent and gave consent to mortgage the property on July 23, 2009, an act which he (Aidoo) had no capacity to do so, the prosecutor indicated.

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