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The Court of Appeal (CA) on Wednesday ordered Dr Akoto-Osei, former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance to file his written submissions within 21 days in respect of an appeal before it.

The CA noted that Dr Richard Anane, former Transport Minister, had filed his submissions but Dr Akoto-Osei had not. It therefore adjourned the matter sine die.

Dr. Anane and Dr. Akoto-Osei, who are being tried with other former Ministers for costing financial loss to the state through the sale of Ghana Airways, requested the prosecution to furnish them with what they termed as relevant documents on the case to enable them put up a strong defence.

They insisted on a fair trial and respect for their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the country?s constitution, demanding to be placed on a level playing ground with the prosecution in order to properly and adequately defend themselves of the allegations made against them by the State.

As a result, they urged the High Court to direct the Attorney General to supply them with certified copies of all statements made to the Police, potential witnesses to be used by the prosecution, and all documents intended to be used by the prosecution in the course of the trial.

Their argument was that the prosecution had declined to provide them with the necessary documents and statements that would be used in prosecuting them, noting that the failure to furnish them with the documents amounted to ambush litigation.

They quoted Article 19 (2e) of the 1992 Constitution to buttress their point, noting that the provision allows a person charged with a criminal offence to be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.

But the prosecution argued that sections 163 and 181 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1960 (Act 30) do not allow accused persons who are standing trial summarily to have access to such documents before they are tendered in evidence as exhibits.

In the circumstance, counsel for Dr. Anane and Dr. Akoto-Osei requested the High Court to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation, but the Court on July 16, 2010 refused on the grounds that the issues raised by the two were unwarranted.

According to the court, Act 30, under which the accused persons are being prosecuted on summary charges, does in no way conflict with the 1992 Constitution, further noting that there may be some amendments to be made on the law.

It also took the view that no law compels the prosecution to supply material evidence to accused persons in summary trials, stressing that relying on international conventions, as was being done by the defense, was unwarranted and could not be accepted.

It therefore ordered the two and the other accused persons to present themselves for trial.

The others are Kwadwo Mpiani, former Chief of Staff, Professor. George Gyan-Baffour, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and Mr Sammy Crabbe, former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party.

But dissatisfied with the ruling, the two filed an appeal against the High Court decision, in addition to an application for stay of proceedings pending the final determination of the appeal, which was granted on December 1, 2010.

The five persons are variously charged with 22 counts of causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretences, conspiracy to deceive public officer, deceit of public officer, misappropriation of public funds, opening an offshore account without authorisation, conspiracy to steal, and stealing.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on self recognisance bail.

Source: GNA

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