July 3, 2010

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Sene in the Brong Ahafo region, Felix Twumasi-Appiah, who is linked to an alleged fraudulent case involving $65,000 with Juan Carlos, a Spanish national, yesterday appeared in court to be formally charged.

The MP, who on three occasions failed to appear on grounds of being on national assignment, was ready to have his charges read out to him. But the case, which is being heard at an Accra Circuit Court, had to be adjourned because his alleged accomplice, Juan Carlos and the complainant, Juan Francisco Lozano, were out of the country.

Joshua Nimako, counsel for the accused persons, apologized to the court presided over by D.E.K. Daketsey on behalf of Carlos, who is still in Spain after he was granted bail a month ago. The lawyer gave the court the assurance that Carlos would be back in court to stand trial.

ASP Aidan Dery, the prosecutor told the court that the complainant was not in the country so the case was adjourned to August 2, 2010, when the MP would be formally charged.

Juan Francisco Lozano, who reportedly petitioned President Atta Mills over the alleged fraudulent conduct of the Sene MP, was of the opinion that releasing the passport of Twumasi-Appiah’s alleged accomplice in the deal to enable him to travel to Spain would render the case ineffective because he might not return. This was before Carlos was granted bail on the last hearing date.

Twumasi-Appiah has been admitted to a GH¢100,000 self recognisance bail while Juan Carlos is on GH¢150,000 bail with three sureties, after he pleaded not guilty to stealing, conspiracy to commit fraud and fraud.

Before yesterday, the MP was absent for the third time in a roll and his counsel informed the court that the MP could not make it to the court because Parliament was sitting.

This did not go down well with the trial judge, Mr Daketsey who said the continuous absence of Twumasi-Appiah from the court would make people think he was being treated better than the Spanish national because he is a Ghanaian.

The prosecutor said the police would petition the Speaker of Parliament to grant them permission to prosecute Twumasi-Appiah for his non-appearance before court in connection with the alleged fraudulent gold transaction case.

The MP had earlier reported sick and was excused by the court on two occasions from being present at the trial which started last month.

The prosecutor, ASP Aidan Dery, told the court that if the MP failed to appear in court on the next adjourned date, “we will advise ourselves at the appropriate time”.

On May 24 this year, the court ordered the MP to report to the Police to be charged properly.

Twumasi-Appiah is expected to be charged with stealing, conspiracy to commit fraud and committing fraud by false pretences.

The prosecutor said the total money involved in the gold deal was $65,000 and explained that even though the accused persons had settled $30,000 to the Spanish businessman, Juan Francisco Osorio Lozano, the suspects still have a case to answer.

Twumasi-Appiah was said to have also withdrawn money from the account of Francisco Lozano after he was given blank cheques by the Spanish businessman.

He is alleged to have misrepresented himself and fraudulently caused the police to release $30,000 meant for Francisco Lozano, to Juan Carlos, without the consent of Lozano.

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana