4 Persons dragged to court for stealing money from cocoa farmers 

4 Persons dragged to court over Kuapa Kooko farmers union 'money'

The management of the Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU) have been dragged to court by members of the farmers cooperative union.

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They have accused the Acting Managing Director KKFU, Fatima Ali and the Operations Manager, Luke Antwi of stealing

The two have been charged and arraigned at the Asokwa Circuit Court for conspiracy to steal and stealing a total of GH¢8.7 million belonging to KKFU.

Two other persons Nelson Adubofour, the Executive Secretary of the Union and Bernard Yaw Missedja, the Administrator have also been accused. 

Adubufour and Missedja are currently reportedly on the run.

Fatima Ali and Luke Antwi have appeared in court presided over by Fred Obikyere.

The two have been charged with 11 counts of conspiracy to steal and another 11 counts of stealing.

Plea

They both pleaded not guilty to all the 22 counts and have been admitted to a bail sum of GH¢4 million each with two sureties, one to be justified.

The court presided over by Fred Obikyere additionally asked the two accused persons to deposit their passports with the court’s Registrar.

Justification

During the consideration for the bail application, counsel for Ali, Kwame Owusu-Sekyere, pleaded with the court not to make the sureties to be justified since the court was asking the accused to deposit their passports with the court.

It was the case of the defence that Ali had even used her properties to secure loans for the company and as such would not run away but avail herself to the court to see to the conclusion of the case.

However, the Prosecution, led by a Principal State Attorney,  Cecilia Animah Peprah-Takyi, disagreed and asked the court to maintain the justification.

In granting the bail, the judge said he took into consideration the fact that Ali, though absent at the first hearing last week, was not brought to court on warrant and the fact that the second accused person had already been granted bail.

He said it would be unfair to refuse Ali bail while her alleged conspirator had been granted bail.

He, therefore, admitted her to bail and adjourned the case to May 8, 2023 for a case management conference.

Facts

Presenting the facts of the case, the Principal State Attorney, Mrs Peprah-Takyi, told the court that since May 2022, Kuapa Kokoo Limited, a licensed cocoa buying company with the subsidiary as KKFU, has been in financial crisis leading to the non-payment of commissions for purchasing clerks.

She said the company was also unable to purchase cocoa beans from its farmers during the light crop season from June to September, 2022  and did not pay farmers bonuses for the 2021-2022 cocoa season.

She said upon several enquiries by some members of the national executive council of KKFU, it was realised that some funds of the company with the approval of Ali had been paid for depot constructions and port expenses in KKL which were largely unaccounted for.

Mrs Peprah-Takyi said a case was lodged with the police which got the accused persons arrested and during investigation, an external auditor went through the books of the company.

She said the audit report revealed that “the accused persons stole GH¢8,688,940.00 belonging to the company.”

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