Mr Kwabena Kese(in  white shirt & black tie) among relations coming out of the court yesterday. Photo;Seth OsabukleThe  Managing Director of KESSBEN Group of Companies, Stephen Kwabena Kesse, was yesterday arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court, charged with money laundering and forgery of documents.

He is accused of facilitating the laundering of 127,931,727.65 dollars within 14 months, with connivance with some officials of Stanbic Bank.

Kesse pleaded not guilty to the charges of money laundering and forgery of documents but was remanded into police custody until August 7.

Police prosecutors told the court that, between January 2013 and February 2014, the accused allegedly used KESSBEN Shipping, Forwarding and Trading Limited (KSFTC) to engage in fraudulent documentation to facilitate the outward transfer of large volumes of foreign exchange to spurious and phony addresses, using its bank account with Stanbic Bank.

Prosecuting, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abraham Annor, told the court, presided over by Francis Obiri, that following intelligence report revealed that the accused used the shipping company to cause dubious transfer of monies in foreign exchange for himself and his customers.

With the assistance from some officials of Stanbic Bank, the accused forged Bill of Laden and transferred the said amount to United States, Asia and Europe for 14 months, the prosecutors said.

DSP Annor said on July 29, 2014, , the accused was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport. When he returned from one of his numerous trips to Europe, Asia and the United States of America.

DSP Annor prayed the court to refuse the accused bail since there was the likelihood for him to interfere with investigations since other collaborators would have to be arrested.

He said the police were not fond of arresting and remanding people but the law must work.

In his application for bail, Carl Adongo, said since the accused had been charged and put before court, it should be assumed that the police had completed their investigations and questioned how he could interfere with investigations.

He argued that the charges were bailable offences and that the police were using the court as a chamber to remand his client and again questioned the whereabouts of the bank officials involved, since his client could not have committed the offence alone.

Mr. Adongo contended that “the courts are venues to ventilate grievances and nib in the bud crimes and that the courts has constitutional obligation to protect the citizenry from harassment from the police”.

Refusing the bail application, Mr. Obiri indicated that investigations into a case did not take a day and that the police should be given time to complete their investigations.

He said the grant of bail was too early and would be considered at the next adjourn date and ordered that the accused should be remanded in police custody to enable him to have access to his counsel and close relatives.

By Winston Tamakloe

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