OSP Case on lifestyle audit: Veep's office wanted seized rice for Ramadan - Prosecutor
Lawyer for one of the accused persons dragged to court by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for allegedly failing to declare his assets, and the prosecutor today traded various allegations at the Accra High Court.
The lawyer - Nana Asare - accused the Special Prosecutor of allegedly coming into a purely civil matter due to his ties to a party in the case.Subscribe
According to counsel, his client - Issah Seidu (the first accused person) had sued the petitioner over the ownership of some imported rice.
He said while the case was ongoing, the petitioner allegedly reported the matter to the OSP for the anti-graft body to harass his client because he (petitioner) had a personal relationship with the Special Prosecutor.
Counsel made the claims as he was applying to the court to grant his client bail.
In response, the prosecutor from the OSP, Emmanuel Basintale, refuted the claims from counsel and said the OSP ventured into the matter due to a petition about an alleged act of corruption.
“The petitioner has no relationship with the Special Prosecutor. He is just a Ghanaian who wants to prevent corrupt officials from unlawfully taking his goods from him,” he said.
According to him, the petitioner who is a businessman imported about 10,000 bags of rice into Ghana and when he tried to clear the goods after going through all the processes, Seidu also laid claim to the goods.
The prosecutor said the petitioner then reported the matter to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) which later determined that the goods belonged to him and that the documents presented by Seidu were fake.
Mr Basintale said Seidu immediately filed a suit against the petitioner and also filed an injunction to stop GRA from releasing the goods to the petitioner.
“It was at this point that the petitioner said he has come across documents from the Office of the Vice President addressed to the Commissioner of Customs to release the goods imported by the petitioner to A1 (Seidu) because the Office of the Vice President wanted to use the rice for Ramadan,” he said.
Meanwhile, the court has granted bail to three of the four accused persons who have been charged for failing to comply with a directive from the OSP to declare their assets.
Seidu, who works at the National Insurance Commission, was admitted to bail in the sum of Ghc10,000 with one surety and must report to the OSP every Monday.
The other accused persons - James Keck Osei, an official at Office of the Vice President was granted bail in the sum of Ghc10,000, while Peter Achibald Hyde, a Customs Officer granted a self-recognizance bail.
The third accused person - John Abban who is a also a Customs officer was however absent, with his lawyers saying he was not well.
Hearing continues on March 13, this year.
The four who are under investigations by the OSP over alleged corruption in the importation of the 10,000 bags of rice, were dragged to court by the OSP for failing to declare their assets as demanded by the anti-graft body.
The alleged refusal to declare their assets is in contravention with Section 69(1) of the OSP Act , 2017 (Act 959) and Regulation 20(2) of the OSP (Operations), Regulations, 2018 ( L.I 2374).