Court orders prosecution to decide if it's ready for NSS boss trial by April 21
The Fast Track Accra High Court yesterday gave state prosecutors up to April 21, 2015 to decide if they have gathered enough evidence for the trial of the former Executive Director, of the National Service Scheme (NSS) Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, to begin.
The new twist follows pleas by the prosecutors asking for more time for the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to complete its work.
An Assistant State Attorney, Mr Fred K. Awindaogo, in making a case for another adjournment, said the BNI needed time to conclude its investigations into the matter.
This is the fourth time the court has had to adjourn proceedings at the instance of the prosecution to allow it time to continue with investigations.
When the presiding judge, Mrs Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsah, sought to know when the BNI would finish its investigations, Mr Awindaogo said the investigator was not in court, but pledged to ensure that he was around at on next adjourned date.
The turn of events did not please counsel for the accused person, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor.
Mr Jinapor, who held brief for Mr Yoni Kulendi, said “the prosecution has had about five months to prepare its case. Our humble observation to this court is that the state does not have sufficient evidence to commence this trial”.
He pleaded with the court that if the state had no sufficient evidence, then the accused must be set free.
“If the accused is acquitted and discharged and the state ever finds any evidence against him, they can re-arraign him before this court,” he further argued.
State wants justice
In reply, Mr Awindaogo said the state shared similar sentiments, and indicated that that, was the reason for which it did not oppose the accused person being granted bail.
He said, among other things, that the prosecution wanted to finish with everything so that the court’s time would not be wasted when the case started.
Currently, the bail conditions for the former NSS boss demand that he reports to the BNI every Wednesday.
But his lawyer said the weekly routine was limiting his client’s movement.
After listening to both sides, Justice Mensah-Datsa maintained the bail conditions, but urged the prosecution to allow the accused person to “report early in the mornings...”
The prosecution said Alhaji Imoro was responsible for the posting and placement, raising of vouchers and payment of National Service persons across the country.
In July this year, the BNI received some complaints of malfeasance and began nationwide investigations into the operations of the NSS with regard to the payment of monthly allowances to service persons.
According to the prosecution, investigations so far had revealed that for every month starting from September, 2013 to July, last year, GH¢7.9 million was paid to 22,612 non-existent service persons.
It said the ‘ghost’ names were generated at the NSS Headquarters under Alhassan’s supervision and he instructed that the names be added to the payment vouchers (PVs).
It said in all, GH¢86.9 million was received by Alhassan from the 10 regional directors of the scheme.