OSP “Lele” rice case: Four accused persons granted bail
An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Comfort Tasiame, has admitted to bail four persons charged by the special prosecutor with the offence of failing to comply with a lawful demand of an authorized officer of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) the performance of his function.
According to the charge sheet filed in Court, the offence is contrary to section 69(1) (a) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) and regulation 20 (2) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2374).
The four accused persons are Issah Seidu (worker at National Insurance Commission), James Keck Osei, (civil servant and administrator at the office of the Vice President), John Abban (senior customs officers) and Peter Archibald Hyde (In charge of state warehouse at Tema”.
They have all been charged with a count each of the offence of failing to comply with a lawful demand of an authorized officer of the office of the special prosecutor in the performance of his function.
In court today, Monday 13 February 2023, the accused persons with the exception of the third accused (John Abban) who was absent, pleaded not guilty after their charges were read to them. Defence lawyers moved swiftly to apply for bail for their clients.
Legal representation for the office of the special prosecutor, Emmanuel Basintele, did not opposed the bail application for the second, third and fourth accused persons but opposed the bail application for the first accused (Issah Seidu) for showing outright disrespect for the office of the special prosecutor during their investigations.
However, Justice Comfort Tasiame’s Court admitted the first accused to bail in the sum of 10,000 Ghana cedis with one surety. He will be required to report to the OSP every Monday until the final determination of the case.
The second accused person, James Keck Osei, who is a civil servant and administrator at the office of the Vice Present was admitted to self-recognizance bail and the fourth accused person was also admitted to bail in the sum of 10,000 Ghana cedis with one surety.
He will be required to report to the case investigator every Monday until the final determination of the case. The Court subsequently adjourned sitting to Monday 13 March 2023.
Facts of the case
The facts sheet as presented in Court indicated that the “first, third and fourth accused persons are public servants while the second accused is civil servant.
“The accused are all suspects under investigation in respect of corruption and corruption-related offences regarding the importation from Thailand and auction processes of two hundred and fifty (250) metric tons of “Lele” rice.
“The evidence will establish that in December 2022, the Special Prosecutor, in the performance of his functions, served on the accused, respectively, notices to declare their property and income under regulation 20(1) per Forms 11A and 11B of the first schedule of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (LI. 2374).
“The accused were duly notified, as per the statutory forms and by cover letters under the seal of the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the seal and mark of the Special Prosecutor, that they were required by law to make the specified declarations and return same to the Office of the Special Prosecutor as per Form 12 of the First Schedule of L.I. 2374, within thirty (30) days of the service on them of the notices as per Forms 11A and 11B of the First Schedule of LI. 2374.
“As at the close of business on 9 February 2023, the Accused had failed, without lawful excuse, to return the duly completed statutory forms to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, more than thirty (30) days after the service of the forms on them.
“The Accused Persons have been duly charged with the respective offences on the charge sheet”.