A former Director of the Serious Fraud Office says no matter how long it takes, a former Roads and Highways Minister Dr Ato Quashie must be charged and prosecuted for his role in the controversial CP judgement debt scandal.
Theophilus Cudjoe told the members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Wednesday, that Dr Quarshie?who until recently was the chairman of the Metro Mass Transit runaway from justice after he was indicted by a 1993 SFO report and charged with conspiracy to defraud the state.
He was answering questions on the controversial CP judgement debt scandal.
CP was contracted to construct a number of road projects for Ghana in the early 90s but ended up in protracted legal suits against the government of Ghana culminating in a 92 million euros payment in 2009 to CP by the GoG.
According to Cudjoe, Dr Quarshie was indicted after a thorough investigation and charged together with the former General Manager of Construction Pioneers Ltd. Robert Ploetner for conspiracy to defraud the state.
Quarshie was?granted a self recognizance bail because he was considered a public officer?and would not runaway.
But to the surprise of all, the former Minister followed?Mr. Robert Ploetner who had applied for bail to spend the Christmas holidays in Germany.
He said even more surprising was the fact that?after running away from justice, Dr. Ato Quarshie somehow became a witness for CP at an arbitration process against Ghana.
?The?people?who were charged, were Dr Ato Quarshie, Carl Plaetner himself, and Robert Ploetner. They were charged with conspiracy to defraud the government.
?The total amount that we found defrauded was 96 million deutschemarks which is about the same money given to them in settlement recently.
?After we had charged them it was 2003 December when Robert Ploetner said he needed permission to go for Christmas.
??So he was on bail and so we said you can go for Christmas and come back by February. So he left. Dr Ato Quarshie was bailed on his own recognizances because he was a Minister of Ghana. We think he is a honorable member, he is a public figure so why should we fear that he will ran away from Ghana? Unfortunately we were wrong.”
??We had a shock when we went for the next arbitration and we saw him sitting there as a witness for CP,? he said.
Theophilus Cudjoe said he was so angry that he swore to Dr Quarshie that if ever he came to Ghana he would have him arrested.
??He ran away from justice. So in the report we described him as a fugitive from justice.”
?And members, legally that case is still pending in Ghana. The docket is still lying at the Attorney General?s Office. The people are legally charged. In?criminal?prosecutions there is no limitation. So long as you are alive you can be prosecuted anytime,” he stated.
He said if he were still in office as director of the SFO now EOCO, he would have arrested Dr Ato Quarshie when he returned to Ghana.
Dr. Quarshie resigned as the chairman of the Metro Mass Transit in 2009 after he was indicted in the Mabey and Johnson corruption scandal.
He is reported to be part of a brewing tension in the KEEA Constituency in the Central Region following reports that he will replace incumbent MP Dr JS Annan in the upcoming Parliamentary elections in 2012.
Theophilus Cudjoe also indicted the?Attorney?General?s department for failing to prosecute over 20 cases it had investigated.
He told the committee the cases fingered both New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress functionaries.