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Witness Grilled At Asamoah Boateng Trial   
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Godwin Mawuena Agbesi, a witness in the trial of Stephen Asamoah Boateng, former Minister of Information, and seven others, for contravention of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), was yesterday grilled by Augustine Obuor, counsel for one of the suspects.

Agbesi was grilled on his claims that he only acted under instructions from his boss, Prosper Aku, an accused person in the case.

The witness, who was under cross-examination by Obuor, spent more than ten minutes trying to parry a direct question from counsel as to whether the documents he claimed to have forged, at the instance of his boss, were something that the whole world should believe as a complete lie.

But for the intervention of Justice Charles Quist, the High Court Judge hearing the matter, who told the witness that he was not an accused person in the case and should therefore feel free to answer the questions, the witness only pretended he did not understand what Obuor meant so he initially answered yes to the question but later said no.

Agbesi, a former staff of Supreme Procurement Agency, finally admitted that the documents in which he signed as the quantity surveyor to show there were some renovations going on at the Ministry of Information, were forged but failed to tell the court which aspect of the documents were forged.

He further said he knew that he did it only because he was asked by his superior, who is facing charges of conspiracy and forgery, to do so.

Explaining how he managed to forge the letter, he said he called Prosper Aku on the phone who asked him to write the letter, so he typed with one hand while talking on the other phone and when he finished, he was told to sign as the quantity surveyor of the company.

The witness, who said he holds a degree in Fisheries and Oceanography, denied that he knew that what he was doing was forgery, saying he had no idea till he appeared in court but said he wrote the letters, read them and appended his signature to them when no one forced him to do so.

In addition, he admitted that at the time he signed the documents, he did not know Asamoah Boateng, popularly called Asabee, and the others, so he could not have forged any document with them.

However, Agbesi maintained that he did not forge the documents on his own volition but was following instructions.

When counsel put it to him that he resigned from the company because the prosecution said they wanted to use him as a witness against his boss and the others, the witness said he felt he could no more trust his boss and denied knowledge of the documents at the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) Headquarters.

The witness, when asked why the court should trust him now, said he did not know whether to answer in the affirmative or negative, adding that he had just told the court what he knew.

Under cross-examination by Nene Amegatcher, the witness admitted that he was paid better when he worked for his boss than he was now and also agreed with counsel that Propser Aku secured his bail when he was at the BNI Headquarters.

The witness also agreed with Nene Amegatcher that at the time of the said documents, his boss was appointed the General Manager of Aqua Vitens Rand Company but explained that he still found time to visit the office.

He maintained that his boss instructed him to sign the bill of quantities.

Egbert Faibillle, when he cross-examined the witness, asked him to bring his degree certificate on the next hearing.

Godwin Agbesi, in his testimony, disclosed that he was employed in 2007 by Supreme Procurement Agency as a marketing officer.

He said he first came across Plexiform Ventures, the company contracted by the ministry to do the renovation, when his boss, Prosper Aku, instructed him to prepare a bill of quantity for the Ministry of Information.

According to him, his boss had dictated to him how to fill the document on phone and had also asked him to sign as the quantity surveyor on the said document with the heading certificate of Architecture and Engineering.

Mr. Asamoah-Boateng, together with his wife and the others, is standing trial for allegedly conspiring to contravene the Procurement Act by not following due processes in awarding a contract amounting to GH86, 915.85 to Plexiform Ventures, for renovation work at the Ministry of Information.

The other accused persons are Zuleika Jennifer Lorwia, also called Mrs. Asamoah-Boateng; Frank Agyekum, former deputy Minister of Information; Kofi Asamoah Boateng, former Director of Finance and Administration; and Dominic Yaw Sampong, acting Chief Director.

Others are Kwabena Denkyira, Deputy Director of Finance and Administration, Yasmine Domua, Manageress, Prosper Aku of Supreme Procurement Agency and the company, Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been granted bail.
Source: Fidelia Achama

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