20 February 2013

Ghana: Biz Woman in the Docket

A 38-year old business woman, Eunice Boateng, who falsely accused a Dutch national, Arthur Paes of defilement, has been granted a GH¢5000.00 bail with two sureties by an Accra Circuit Court.

Ms Boateng, who is facing two counts of possessing forged documents, contrary to section 116 of the Criminal and other offences Act of 1960 (Act 29) and deceit of public officer, contrary to section 251 of the same Act, pleaded not guilty to the offence. She is to reappear at the Court on March 12, 2013.

Giving the facts of the case, the Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Celina Acquah told the court that Ms. Boateng is the guardian of the allegedly defiled victim, Georgina Donkor, who lives at Nungua near Accra.

She indicated that at about 1630 hours on December 23, 2010, Ms Boateng accompanied the "victim" to Ashanti Regional offices of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) and reported a defilement case against Mr. Paes, who is the owner of African Royal Beach Hotel at Nungua.

ASP Acquah said the accused gave the victim's age as 15, whilst the victim also gave her age as 16, prompting a request of the Birth Certificate of the victim, since she and the accused gave conflicting ages in their statements, but the accused failed to produce the document.

She said the docket was then forwarded to the Attorney General's Department for study and advice on June 23, 2011.

ASP Acquah said whilst the complainant was waiting for the advice from the Attorney General's Department, the accused on February 29, 2012, produced a birth certificate bearing the name of Georgina Donkor, with entry number 5545, registered on December 20, 2010, and issued on December 23, 2010, the very date she accompanied victim to lodge her complaint.

She said that the Birth certificate indicated the of birth of the victim as October 10, 1994, but when the document was referred to the Registrar of Births and Deaths to ascertain its authenticity, it was detected that the Birth Certificate purported to have been issued at 37 Military Hospital Registry was forged.

The 5545 entry number on the birth certificate was indexed to one Florence Aboagye and not Georgina Donkor, the victim.

Additionally, investigations at the Passport Office also indicated that Georgina Donkor's Ghanaian passport, with number H0962148, issued on September 20, 2002, had October 10, 1991, as her birth date.

The Prosecutor told the court that records perused by investigators at the school the victim had her basic Junior High School certificate, Victory International Junior Secondary School at Avoeme-Aflao in the Volta Region, indicated that she was born on October 10, 1991, and not October 10, 1994, as stated on the Birth Certificate produced by the accused.

She said the alleged victim stated in her initial statement to the Police that she was born at Mankessim in the Central Region, but later claimed she was born at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, raising more doubts about the authenticity of the birth certificate.

According ASP Aqcuah, the additional documents were forwarded to the A-G's Department for study and advice and on October 15, 2012, a communication received from the outfit and signed by Dufie Prempeh, Assistant State Attorney, indicated that the evidence gathered on the case contained lots of inconsistencies.

The advice from the A-G's department noted that the age of the victim given by the accused, the forged Birth Certificate and the basic school certificate did not support the defilement claim and that the facts could not sustain a charge of defilement against Arthur Paes and for that matter the charge be dropped.

The A-G's Department advised that the accused (Ms. Boateng) should rather be charged for fabrication, forgery of documents and for giving false statement to the Police.

ASP Acquah said this led to the arrest of the accused, who declined declaring the identity of the person who prepared the birth certificate during interrogation, stating that she would only produce the person in court as a witness, but never did when she appeared in Court.

Counsel for the accused, Louis Kudjo then pleaded for bail on behalf of his client, saying the accused was a mother of three and keeping her in custody would bring hardship on her family.

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