I handed over cheque to Chief — Witness

A prosecutor in the alleged stealing case of $150,000, involving the Paramount Chief of Banka Traditional Area, Nana Osabarima Twiampomah III, has hinted the Accra High Court hearing the case that the state will call another witness.

•   Nana Osabarima Twiampomah III

• Nana Osabarima Twiampomah III

This follows the end of cross-examination of the second prosecution witness, Mr. Wallace Bruce Catheline, a lawyer with Minka Premo and Co. Chambers, who handed the cheque in the name of Banka to the chief.

The witness stood his grounds that the cheque was meant for the development of the Banka area contrary to the argument by the accused’s lawyer that the money was for the private use of his client.

The fifty-two-year-old chief is charged with stealing to which he has pleaded not guilty.

He is on bail in the sum of GH¢50,000, with a surety to be justified and under bond not to travel pending the determination of the case.

He has also deposited a title deed to the court which is equivalent to $150,000.

Gulf Coast Resources, a mining company, had paid the said amount to the people of Banka for the development of the town following 10 years of mining activities in the area.

Nana Twiampomah had told the court that the money was meant for his personal use.

A witness, Mr Wallace Bruce Cathline, had told an Accra Fast Track High Court how he presented the cheque, meant for the people of Banka, to the chief.

Mr. Cathline, a lawyer who works with Minka Premo and Co. Chambers in Accra, admitted during examination that he personally handed over the cheque meant for the people of Banka, to Nana Twiampomah .

The cheque for $150,000 dollars, payable through the Stanbic Bank, was for the people of Banka, he said.

Led in evidence by Mr Mathew Amponsah, Chief State Attorney, Mr Cathline said he got to know the accused person on June 14, 2011 when one Mr. Ebenezer Asare-Quansah, a client of his chambers, called him on phone that he wanted to bring a cheque to him to be given to the accused person.

Later that day, Mr. Cathline said the two men called at his office but in the course of discussions, the accused person insisted that the cheque should be for him and thus, be issued his name.

Mr. Asare-Quansah, who had prepared a receipt to be signed by the accused in the name of the people of Banka, did not oblige and that led to an argument between the two, following which Mr. Asare-Quansah left but instructed that the cheque be released to the accused if he signed it in the name of the people of Banka.

Consequently, Nana Twiampomah told Mr. Cathline that he was going to see his lawyer, whose name was given as Kwame Gyan, to prepare a receipt for him.

Mr. Asare-Quansah had also instructed the witness that in the event that the accused brought a receipt, the content should be read out to him before the handing over of the cheque.

When the content was read to him, he disagreed, saying it amounted to the accused receiving the amount in his personal capacity and for himself.

Later, he said, the accused signed the receipt prepared by Mr. Asare-Quansah for the cheque in the name of the people of Banka following which the cheque was released to him.

The witness then tendered the receipt in court.

According to the prosecutor, in 2000, Gulf Coast Resources Limited (GCRL), acquired a mining lease for a period of 10 years from the Minerals Commission to mine gold on Banka lands. The mining lease expired in 2010.

When the lease expired, GCRL wrote a letter to the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources for renewal.

Mr. Amponsah said in a letter dated June 10, 2010, the accused person and the people of Banka petitioned the ministry not to renew the lease because GCRL failed to fulfil its corporate social responsibility for the period the land was leased to it.

Subsequently, GCRL entered into negotiations with the accused and the people of Banka, during which the company promised to pay $150,000 to the community for development purposes.

Then, the accused and his people, in a letter dated January 13, 2011, wrote to the ministry to withdraw their petition and the mining lease was renewed for another 10 years, starting from 2011.

Mr. Amponsah said after the mining lease was renewed, GCRL paid the agreed amount and subsequently transferred its rights to another mining company, Banka Gold Limited.

The prosecution said GCRL paid the amount as per Stanbic Bank cheque number 534403 on June 14, 2011. It was received and acknowledged by the accused, who issued a signed receipt on June 14, 2011.

By Malik Sullemana  

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