Adabor acquired Subin Timbers fraudulently,Friday, 08 August 2014
The Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee has appealed to the Attorney General to institute criminal action against one Kofi Adabor for fraudulent misrepresentation that enabled him and his family to sell the assets of a divested timber company.
“We stand on very firm grounds in making this allegation of fraud. It is amazing that the fraud passed through CHRAJ, the Attorney General’s Department, the National Reconciliation Commission and even the Presidency,” Mr Asakuaa Agambila said at the sitting of the Judgement Debt Commission yesterday.
According to him, certain parties were taking advantage of the weaknesses and failures of the country’s poor record keeping and poor memory both on paper and institutionally to dupe the state.
He said Adabor and one Coffie Ohene made claims to the effect that a company—Subin Timbers Limited— confiscated by the state in 1982, and merged with another company in the 1980s, belonged to them.
They later petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the National Reconciliation Commission and eventually the Asset Restoration Committee (ARC) before they had the assets released to them by the Kufuor administration which had earlier approved the selling of the company to some Italian investors.
Walking the commission through events leading to the selling of the company to the Italian investors, Mr Agambila said a private timber company, Subin Timbers Limited, was confiscated in 1982 as a result of a number of malpractices, including tax evasion.
The company was later amalgamated with another confiscated company – Central Logging and Saw Milling Company – to form the Western Veneer and Lumber Company (WVLC).
He said in 2000, the WVLC came up for divestiture and received approval of the DIC in 2006 and subsequently obtained presidential authorisation as required by law in 2007.
The divestiture included all assets of the WVLC. The DIC made an offer of $3.5 million to the investor. The investor made part payment as stipulated in the terms, and the investor was given the right to entry.
The right of entry permitted the new owner of the company to begin operations, while it made efforts to pay the remaining amount.
He said before the divestiture process began in 2000, a certain Coffie petitioned CHRAJ that he was the owner of Subin Timbers Limited, which had been confiscated, and wanted his company back.
He said in the same year CHRAJ, after considering the petition, forwarded it to the Confiscated Assets Committee (CAC).
He said CHRAJ might have found merit in the petition, hence its decision to forward it to the CAC. Following this, the Attorney General, in 2001, also found merit in the petition and forwarded it to the ARC, which decides which assets confiscated by the state can be restored to their owners.
The ARC, Mr Agambila said, then awarded the petitioner GH¢543,000 which was rejected by the petitioner.
He said after turning down the offer, Mr Coffie again petitioned the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), which was hearing cases of injustice committed against some individuals by successive governments.
He said subsequently Mr Coffie passed away and the said Mr Adabor appeared before the NRC to lay claims to Subin Timbers. He, however, said information the DIC gathered from the Registrar General’s Department indicated that Subin Timbers was not owned by Mr Coffie but rather, he was appointed a director at a point before the company was confiscated.
He said the NRC considered that the petitioner had a good case and on that basis, in 2008, the AG wrote to the DIC that the NRC had de-confiscated assets of Subin Timbers Limited and that it should be returned to its owners.
Subin Timbers de-confiscated
According to him, in 2008, the office of the President, in a letter dated December 15, 2008, and signed on behalf of President Kufuor and copied to the DIC, informed Mr Coffie that his company had been de-confiscated so it should be handed back to him.
“The interesting thing is that it was the same Presidency that had approved the divestiture of the company and it was the same Presidency that was ordering that the company which was then part of another company be handed back,” Mr Agambila said.
He said in 2009, the DIC wrote to the AG asking for evidence that Subin Timbers belonged to Mr Ohene but there was no response.
He said under rather bizarre circumstances, the Inspector General of Police at the time received a letter ordering him to help Mr Adabor take possession of the assets of the company, an activity that he said took place on the day President J.E.A. Mills was being sworn into office on January 7, 2009.
He said even though the new owner of the company, Mr Ivor Fioneri, went to court for an injunction, Mr Adabor and others sold assets of the company to some Ivorians who took movable assets of the WVLC on January 7, 2009.
Mr Agambila said it was unfortunate that none of the state institutions that endorsed Mr Coffie’s ownership of Subin Timbers investigated the validity of the claim.