An Accra Fast Track High Court on Thursday adjourned the case involving Alhaji Alhassan Mohammed Imoro, former boss of the National Service Scheme (NSS), for the prosecution to conclude investigations.
The (Tax and Financial Division) of the High Court, adjourned the case after the State, represented by Assistant State Attorney, Fred Awindaogo, prayed the court for an adjournment, to allow the prosecution to complete its investigations.
The State Attorney said the prosecution needed more time to gather enough evidence before commencing trial, saying the complicated nature of the case had compelled it, (prosecution) to ask for more time to be able to complete investigations into the matter.
He said, it is justice the office seeks and not conviction, and that is the reason why it is not in a hurry to start proceedings, so that it will not put the court in suspense in the middle of the trial.
“This is the more reason why we ask for long adjournments, so that the accused person will not complain of having to come to court and go all the time,” he stated.
Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, representing the defence counsel team, said the State is not to convict, but to grant justice, and so if the State does not have any evidence against the accused person, he should be freed.
He said the accused person was arraigned in October 2014, and wondered why trial has not started after six months.
Mr Jinapor prayed the court that even as his team was obliging the prosecution and the the adjournment, the team wanted to draw the court’s attention to the delay in starting the trial.
He also prayed the court to review the bail conditions of his client, from reporting at the BNI once in a week, to once in a month, or the Police can invite his client at any point they need him to assist in investigations.
The court presided over by Mrs. Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, however, refused to grant the plea by the defence counsel, and maintained the bail conditions, but asked that both parties should co-operate so that by the next adjourned date, they would know whether they were ready to start or not.
She said these were issues of people’s rights, and both sides must take keen interest, to ensure that everything went well. .
At the last sitting, the case was adjourned, after the prosecution prayed the court for a short adjournment to allow it to complete its investigations, saying the complicated nature of the case had compelled it to ask for more time to be able to complete investigations before commencing the trial.
Imoro has pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing GH₡86.9 million belonging to the government of Ghana through the payment of ghost or non-existing service personnel.
He was granted bail in the sum of GH₡90 million with three sureties, all to be justified, with property valued at more than one million Ghana cedis.
He was also asked to surrender his passport to the BNI until further notice.
On November 3, this year, Imoro was discharged by a Circuit Court, but was re-arrested and arraigned before the Fast Track High Court.
The case for the prosecution was that the accused person was responsible for the posting and placement, raising vouchers and payment of National Service persons in the country.
According to the prosecution, at the beginning of every year, he posted some service personnel, and caused the transfer of vouchers across the country.
However, in July 2014, the BNI received some complaints of malfeasance and began a nationwide investigation into the operations of the NSS with regard to the payment of monthly allowances to service persons.
According to the prosecution, investigations so far revealed that for every month, starting from September 2013 to July 2014, and an amount of GH₡7.9 million was paid to 22,612 non-existing personnel, or ‘ghost ‘service persons.
The prosecution said, the ghost names were generated at the NSS headquarters under the supervision of the former NSS boss.
According to the prosecution, Imoro instructed that the names be added to the Payment Vouchers (PVs).
The prosecution said the PVs were distributed to the Regional Directors of the Scheme, and on receipt, they further distributed the PVs to the District Directors under their jurisdiction.
The prosecution said Imoro signed cheques for payments, which were deposited in the banks of the districts where service persons withdrew their allowances.
Imoro also issued instructions to the District Directors, through their Regional Directors, that after the allowances of the genuine service persons had been paid, the monies for the ghost names should be withdrawn and sent to him through the Regional Directors.
The prosecution said, in all, GH₡86.9 million was received by Imoro from the 10 Regional Directors