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A-G chases 3 defaulters in Venture Capital case

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame — Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame — Attorney General and Minister of Justice

The Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department has triggered legal processes to retrieve money from three persons who entered into settlement agreements with the state.

A former executive assistant at the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), Irene Anti-Mensah; her husband, Frank Aboagye Mensah, and a former Member of Parliament for Keta and former member of the Board of Trustees of the VCTF, Richard Lassey Agbenyefia, who are being pursued, were convicted on their own guilty pleas but agreed to pay various sums of money as restitution for causing financial loss to the state.

The three, together with the former Chief Executive Officer of the VCTF, Daniel Duku, were standing trial at an Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Anthony Oppong, on various charges of causing financial loss to the state, abetment of crime, stealing, defrauding by false pretences and issuing of false cheques.

The three convicts and the former CEO had entered into negotiations with the A-G under Section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993, (Act 459), a provision that allows accused persons to offer compensation and restitution to the state for the loss, harm or damage caused the state.

Sanctions of convicts

In court yesterday, a Principal State Attorney, Ms Frances Mollen Ansah, made a request for the court to apply sanctions under Section 35(7) of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459) against the three for defaulting in paying their debts, as agreed by the court.

Under Section 35 of the Courts Act, the convicts are expected to fulfill the conditions set by the court for the payment of the restitution, otherwise it shall pass custodial sentences on them.

Apply

The trial judge, however, declined to hear the oral submissions and rather asked the State Attorney to prepare an application and serve them to appear in court.

Justice Oppong noted that the convicts needed to be given the opportunity to appear in court to explain why they had defaulted in the payment of their debts, as directed by the court.

Per the agreement reached and accepted by the court, Anti-Mensah was to pay GH¢1.5 million to the VCTF and a fine of GH¢100,000 to the state; Aboagye Mensah was to pay GH¢1.19 million to the VCTF and a fine of GH¢100,000 to the state, while Agbenyefia was also to pay of GH¢2.41 million to the VCTF.

They were required to pay the said amounts by the end of September this year.

However, Anti-Mensah has settled GH¢1.43 million out of the GH¢1.5 million, leaving a balance of GH¢70,000; Aboagye Mensah has paid GH¢430,000 out of the GH¢1.19 million, with a balance of GH¢765,000, while Agbenyefia has paid GH¢200,000 out of the GH¢2.41 million, leaving a balance of GH¢2.12 million.

Mr Duku was expected to pay GH¢15 million to the VCTF and a fine of GH¢500,000 to the state, for which he has settled GH¢1 million.

The Daily Graphic gathered that the state was in the process of selling some of his assets to defray the debt, as ordered by the court.

Adjournment of case

The court also adjourned the trial of two other persons involved in the case to January 14, next year.

That was after their lawyer had asked the current CEO of the VCTF, Mr Yaw Owusu-Brempong, who appeared as the first witness for the prosecution, few questions under cross-examination.

The two, Kofi Sarpong, an investment officer of the VCTF, and Charity Opoku, also known as Charity Ameyaw, an accountant at the VCTF, have pleaded not guilty to the offences levelled against them.

Sarpong is facing 102 charges of abetment of crime, to wit causing financial loss to the state, abetment of crime, to wit defrauding by false pretence, and conspiracy to commit crime, to wit stealing.

Ameyaw, on the other hand, is facing two counts of causing financial loss to public property to a tune of GH¢12.6 million and abetment of crime, to wit causing financial loss to the state.

She has been accused of facilitating Duku to cause financial loss of GH¢1.94 million by signing cheques to enable the granting of loans to unqualified applicants.