The police investigator probing incidences of fraud uncovered by The Fourth Estate in the school placement system revealed in court on Thursday that one of the accused persons standing trial is a staff of the Ghana Education Service.
Detective Sergeant Stephen Owusu told an Accra Circuit Court that the seventh accused person, Eugenia Abigail Ahiable, currently works at Accra Academy.
The detective disclosed this after John Agbotey, lawyer for Rachel Aryeetey, one of the accused persons, asked during cross-examination if any of the eight accused persons was a public official.
“My lady, Gilbert [one of the accused persons] works at the Fisheries Commission in Tema. And A7 [Eugenia Abigail Ahiable] works at Accra Academy,” Detective Sergeant Owusu said.
Lawyers for the accused persons had previously argued that none of them is a public official. As such, the charge levelled against them should be set aside by the court.
The eight have been charged with the crime of conspiring with public officers to commit a crime “using public office for profit [inserted by act 458, sec 3] contrary to section 179C [B] of the criminal offences act 1960[Act 29].”
The investigator was to be cross-examined by the lawyer of the fourth accused person on trial. However, the absence of Sebastian Appram in court caused the presiding judge, Justice Evelyn Asamoah, to prompt Ms Aryeetey’s lawyer to start the cross-examination.
Before Detective Sergeant Stephen Owusu was cross-examined on Thursday, lawyers for Ms Aryeetey and Mr Appram said the police “coerced” their clients to obtain their statements.
Mr Appram’s lawyer claimed that there was a discrepancy in the police investigator’s caution and charge statements. Although the former was in the handwriting of his client, the latter was written by a police officer, he said.
“A4[Sebastian Appram] said he could write in English. He insisted on writing his own statement which the police declined and compelled him to append his signature on Exhibit D (caution statement).”
However, the state prosecutor, Chief Inspector Benneh, prayed the court to admit the statements into evidence as they were “given voluntarily”.
The judge agreed with the prosecutor. She adjourned the case to August 7, 2023, for the lawyer of Mr Appram to cross-examine the investigator.
The investigations revealed that some individuals connived with other public officials to demand and collect monies to manipulate the placement system.
After the publication, the police arrested eight persons. Two other persons, Atta Kuffuor Junior and Atta Kuffuor Senior are on the run for a similar offence.
The eight are Eric Aggrey, 36, a cleaner; Rachel Aryeetey, a caterer; Isaac Mensah, and Gilbert Afriyie Nkrumah, 23. The rest are Sebastian Appram, a staff of the Fisheries Commission’s Tema Regional Office; Bernard Kusi Agyemang, an operations manager with a logistics company; Eugenia Abigail Ahiable, an administrator; who we now know works at Accra Academy and Daniel Opoku, a foreman.
Eric Aggrey and Rachel Aryeetey have admitted that they took money from some individuals to manipulate the school placement system.
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