KESSBEN Granted GH¢350m Bail

Businessman and industrialist, Stephen Kwabena Kesse, was yesterday granted bail in the sum of GH¢350 million with four sureties, two of which are to be justified by an Accra Circuit Court.

The court further directed him to deposit his passport with the court’s registry and report to the investigating unit every Monday at 12 noon.

He was accompanied to court by family members, business partners, and well-wishers including Alhaji Karim Grunsah, Managing Director of Kumasi-based King Faisal FC Football Club.

He is accused of facilitating the laundering of 127,931727.65 dollars within 14 months with the connivance of some Stanbic Bank officials.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges of money laundering and forgery of documents.

At the last adjourned date, the court refused a bail application by his defence counsel and remanded him into police custody to enable the police to continue with their investigations.

When hearing began yesterday at 10:48 a.m., police prosecutors told the court, presided over by Mr. Francis Obiri that they needed time to finish their investigations.

However, defence counsel for the accused Carl Adongo, submitted that keeping his client in custody would amount to curtailing his liberty, making reference to Article 14(4) of the constitution to support his stand.

He argued that the facts did not support the charges preferred against his client, describing them as “defective”.

He said the legal basis for their application was premised on the fact that the discretionary power to grant bail lies within the bosom of the judge.

Mr. Adongo argued that his client when granted bail, would not abscond from justice, adding that he is a renowned businessman with more than 2,500 people as his employees”.

“My Lord, many businesses had come to a standstill since the absence of the accused. It is our humble prayer that you use your discretion in our favour to admit him to bail,” he said.

The presiding judge, Mr. Obiri, averred that after listening to the argument by the defence, he came to the conclusion that the accused would come to court when granted bail and accordingly granted the application.

The facts of the case, according to the prosecution, were that between January 2013 and February 2014, the accused allegedly used KESSBEN Shipping, Forwarding and Trading Limited (KSFT) to engage in fraudulent documentation to facilitate outward transfer of large volumes of foreign exchange to spurious and phoney addresses, using its .bank accounts with the Stanbic Bank.

Prosecuting, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abraham Annor, told the court that intelligence had revealed the accused used the shipping company to facilitate dubious transfer of monies in foreign exchange for himself and his customers.

He said with the assistance from some workers of Stanbic Bank, the accused forged Bills of Laden and transferred the said amounts to the United States of America, Asia, and Europe for fourteen months.

In his application for bail, Mr. Adongo said since the accused had been arraigned before court, it meant that the police had completed their investigations.

“The courts are venues to ventilate grievances and nip in the bud, crimes, and the courts have a constitutional obligation to protect the citizenry from police harassment”, he said.

The case has been adjourned to August 20.

By Malik Sullemana

 

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