AN Accra High Court (General and Criminal Jurisdiction Four) has dismissed an application to recall a witness, Ms. Waltraud Wissent, a German technical engineer, who was defrauded by two alleged Nigerian fraudsters of 248,557.91 euros under the pretext of supplying her gold.
The accused, Mark Latif Adijum, also known as Mark Adjei, and Benjamin Taofeek Oluwashola Ajifase (also known as) Benjamin K.Osei went to the High Court in November 15, 2015, to appeal against a circuit court ruling which refused an earlier application.
In October 2015, the circuit court, presided by Mrs. Afia Agbenu Kumador, discharged Ms. Wiessent after the counsel for accused failed to turn up to complete the cross examination of Ms. Wiesent.
Adijum and Ajifase subsequently applied to the trial court to recall the witness, but the said application was refused.
Dissatisfied with the circuit court ruling, the accused appealed against same and to restrain the trial judge while the appeal was pending at the high court.
Opposing the application, Fred Awindago, a State Attorney, argued that the appeal was a calculated attempt to delay and frustrate the trial, adding that there was no legal basis for the grant, and recall of witness, who is far away in Germany.
He reminded the court that trial had to start three times and in each instance, the witness had to travel from Germany to Ghana.
In refusing the application, the presiding Judge, Emmanuel Amo Yartey stated that “…… no findings, sentence or order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be reversed or altered on appeal or review on account of any error, omission or irregularity, the complaint ……Charge, judgement before or during trial…. Unless such error… has in fact occasioned a substantial miscarriage…..”
Justice Yartey averred that an appellant court would only interfere with a ruling or judgement where it is shown that the trial court acted on wrong principles, or the rulings, order or judgment has manifestly portrayed a miscarriage of justice.
“There is evidence before that the applicants were given three different dates to cross examine the witness but they failed to do so. Secondly, the witness in issue has now left for Germany where she resides. I therefore hold that granting the application would obviously retard the progress of the trial. The application for stay is therefore refused,” he added.
Mark Latif and Benjamin Olowashola were said to have defrauded Ms. Wiessent of 248,557.91 euros out of a total of 375,000 euros they requested under the pretext of supplying her gold.
The victim transferred the amount into different accounts at ECOBANK and GUARANTY Trust Bank.
The first accused, Mark Latif, who paraded himself as Christopher Walters of Nottingham, UK and does his business in Ghana, told Ms. Wiessent that he won a contract with the Government of Ghana worth 2.5 million dollars to supply auto parts to six regions in Ghana.
The alleged contract agreement which had Ghana’s Coat of Arms and signatures of the ministries of transport and finance was tendered in court.
By Malik Sullemana