The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) yesterday told the Accra High Court that documents allegedly used by Seidu Issah, an employee of the National Insurance Commission (NIC), to claim ownership of 10,000 bags of rice imported from Thailand to Ghana, were fake.
Issah is one of the four persons charged with corruption and corruption related offences by the OSP.
The accused laid claim to 10,000 bags of rice imported by a businessman, who petitioned the OSP, leading to the arrest of Seidu.
Emmanuel Basintele, prosecuting, told the court presided over by Justice Comfort Tasiame, that findings of investigations by Customs Head office of the Ghana Revenue Authority, revealed that the businessman (petitioner) was the owner of the rice.
He said “this matter was referred to the customs head office for resolution and one deputy commissioner, Ms Hannah was asked to look into the issue and respond, and her findings were that the documents presented by Seidu were fake and that the petitioner was the owner of the goods and should be allowed to clear them.”
The prosecutor said Seidu, filed a civil suit against the petitioner and GRA and sought to injunct the GRA in order to prevent them from releasing the goods to the petitioner.
Mr Basintele told the court that the petitioner said he had come across a document from the office of the Vice President addressed to the Commissioner of Customs, to release the rice to Seidu as the office of the Vice President wanted to use the rice for Ramadan.
He said the businessman petitioned the OSP that he imported 10,000 bags of rice from Thailand and when the goods arrived, he could not immediately clear the goods because the original bill of laden delayed.
Mr Basintele told the court that because of the delay, the goods were taken to Unclear Cargo List (UCL), and explained that goods not cleared at UCL after a period by the importer could be auctioned.
The prosecution said the petitioner upon receipt of the bill of laden, proceeded to get the goods cleared.
The court heard that the businessman went to the warehouse, where Peter Archibold Hyde, a staff of the GRA, was in charge, to take delivery of his goods.
But, he was told that Seidu had laid claim and presented documents, indicating that he (Seidu) imported the goods from Vietnam and not Thailand.
The court that the bill of laden presented by Seidu had the address and tin number of the petitioner.
Three out of four accused pleaded not guilty and were admitted to various bail conditions.
James Keck Osei, the administrator in the office of the Vice President was admitted to self-recognisance bail, while Hyde and Seidu were granted GH¢10,000 each.
As part of the bail condition, Justice Tasiame ordered Seidu to produce a surety and report to the OSP every Monday.
The third accused, John Abban was not in court because he was indisposed.
Counsel for the accused, Messrs Nana Asare and Simon Animley asked the court to admit their clients to bail.
The prosecution said he was not opposed to bail for the accused except Seidu, who had shown outright disrespect to the OSP.
Mr Basintele said it was because of the disrespect for the OSP that Seidu was arrested while the rest were served to appear before court.
The case has been adjourned to March 13.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA