A Circuit Court in Accra has ordered two Ghanaian celebrities David Dontoh, and Nat Brew Amandzeba, to open their defence in a case in which they are alleged to have stolen GHs93,000 cedis belonging to Africa Awake.
The money, according to the prosecution, is part of some GHs150,000 cedis donated by Ghana’s late President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, to Mr. Kwame Wadaada, the founder of Africa Awake, an event organizing company to organize the Africa Champions League Concert.
According to the Presiding Judge, Afi Agbanu Kudomor, the prosecution had established a prima facie evidence against the accused hence the order. She said “In the instance case, there is prima facie evidence that both accused persons by their actions on the said occasions conspired to commit the offence as charged.” Mrs. Kudomor added that, after analyzing the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses, the court finds that “accused persons conspired to steal and stole the said amount”.
It is the prosecution’s case that David Dontoh, and Nat Brew Amandzebah, being signatories to an Ecobank account belonging to Africa Awake, withdrew monies from the account totaling GHs93,000 cedis without the consent of the founder. The prosecution invited two witnesses to testify against the accused, after which the defence led by William Bannerman made a submission of no case in 2015. While the prosecution claimed the donation was made for Mr. Wadaada’s organisation to launch and operate the African Music Champions’ League during the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, the defence suggested that it was meant to promote Ghanaian culture at the event. In ruling on the submission of no case, the court held that the burden of producing evidence in criminal trials lies on the prosecution.
Mrs. Kudomor said the prosecution invited two witnesses at the end of which defence lawyers filed a submission of no case. The judge said it was the court’s mandate to acquit the accused if at the end of the prosecution’s case; the evidence given does not sustain the charge against the accused.
She said counsel’s submission that the absence of an auditor’s report absolves his clients of the responsibility of rendering accounts to “the power(s) that be” cannot stand because, in the absence of such a report, other means could be used to detect such discrepancies in the accounts.