The Herald is picking up disturbing reports suggesting an abuse of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to further a certain powerful man’s business interest.
The OSP’s recent arrests and subsequent slapping of criminal charges on some four individuals including Customs officials, have been traced to a certain Alex Takyi Yeboah, a businessman.
Alex Takyi Yeboah, is also described as the owner of a very famous hotel in Ghana, a clearing agent and a one time customs officer, who left the service on a rather bizarre note.
The hotelier cum businessman is said to be chasing James Keck Osei, a Civil Servant in the Office of the Vice President for certain consignment of his which strangely found its way into some 10 containers of rice belonging to Mr. Osei whilst on the high seas.
One Albert Akrugu, an ex-Customs Officer in the office of the Special Prosecutor has been mentioned as leading the prosecution which is thought to have been triggered by satisfying someone’s business interest rather than a clear infraction of the laws of Ghana.
They have been slapped with criminal charges relating to their failure to declare their assets. However, the criminal charges, according to The Herald’s insiders, are intimidatory tactics to get Keck Osei to allow them to have access to the 10 containers holding the suspicious content.
People familiar with the matter told The Herald that Keck Osei has been locked up in an undisclosed location but the Customs officers are walking free.
The Customs officers were said to have investigated the matter and found that the said containers had multiple pots of loading but the same destination.
While Keck Osei had in his documents that the 10 containers and its content were from Thailand, Alex Takyi Yeboah’s documents mentioned that the containers were coming from Vietnam.
The confusion was to have led to an investigation by the customs officials to determine the true owner. Interestingly, they have also been charged alongside Keck Osei who, unlike Alex Takyi Yeboah, was able to justify his ownership of the 10 containers and the fact it had been consigned to his private company which is registered at the Registrar General’s Department.
The arrest and criminal charges slapped on the officers is to put pressure on Keck Osei to release the containers. Others also feel the arrest is a power play move to subdue the custom officers working in the country’s ports especially the Tema Port.
The Herald also picked up reports that an initial attempt to frustrate Keck Osei and deny him his containers led him to rush to court to secure a court injunction placed on them. The containers are still in the Tema port while both parties make the efforts to put their ownership of the consignment before the court.
It’s not clear how a strange cargo will enter sealed containers while on the high seas, it’s also not clear why the CEPS High Command did not have the containers properly inspected to ascertain whether the containers were carrying lawful goods.
There are reports that Keck Osei is being pushed to withdraw the court injunction and release the containers, and be set free.
Alex Takyi Yeboah has in the meantime been described as a “political octopus” who is connected to the political elite.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has distanced himself from James Keck Osei, a civil servant in his office, charged for failing to declare their sources of income in contravention of regulation 20 of LI2374.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor in a statement on Friday said it has arrested four persons – three public servants and one civil servant – and charged them for failing to declare their sources of income.
The four, Issah Seidu, James Keck Osei, John Abban and Peter Archibald Hyde are due to appear before the High Court (Criminal Division) in Accra on Monday, 13 February 2023.
According to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, Mr Seidu works with the National Insurance Commission while James works with the Office of the Vice President as an administrator.
A statement from the Office of the Vice President confirmed that Mr Keck Osei is a Civil Servant with many years of working experience at the Jubilee House “dating back to periods before this government came into force.”
It however stressed that “the facts as disclosed by the charge sheets suggest it is a personal matter, unconnected to the Office or his role in the Office.”
More to come!