Court

Four persons, accused of evading tax to the tune of GHC1.6 billion cedis, have appeared before an Accra Circuit Court.

Frank Kwadwo Ofori, Chief Executive Officer of K. Ofori Enterprise and three other officials of United Steel Company, namely Hani Mikati, Marwam Hamwi and Sallam Mohammed Gharib are said to have evaded taxes from the year 2013 to 2021.

The accused persons have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime namely fraudulent evasion of tax and fraudulent evasion of tax.

They had earlier on been remanded into Police custody last week by the court.

When sitting resumed, Mrs. Afua Owusua Appiah, the trial judge, admitted them to bail in the sum of one million cedis each with three sureties to be justified.

One justification, the court said, should be a landed property.

The court further ordered the accused persons to deposit their passports at the Court’s registry.

They are also to report to the Police every two weeks and reappear on June 8.

Counsels of the accused persons relied on their arguments for bail made at the first sitting of the court.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare, who led prosecution, substituted the charges and facts.

Not opposing to bail of the accused persons, ASP Asare, informed the court to avert its minds to the fact that apart from Ofori, the rest of the accused persons were foreign nationals, a claim the defence counsel vehemently opposed.

The Prosecution said the bail application should be such that the accused persons would attend to court always.

The case of the State as narrated by ASP Asare, are that, sometime during the year 2021, security agencies picked up information regarding the unlawful activities of the accused persons including fraudulent evasion of tax and money laundering.

The Prosecution said further intelligence revealed that the members and or officers of United Steel Company (USC) developed a scheme apparently to evade taxes and disguised the proceeds in Ghana and abroad.

It said pursuant to the preceding scheme and to facilitate the unlawful activities, Ofori incorporated a company by name Kwadwo Boakye Enterprise (KBE) and same was made a nominee of and agent for USC.

Consequently, Prosecution said surveillance was mounted on the activities of the accused persons and on April 29, this year, they were picked up.

During a search at the offices of USC and residence of Mikati, about 15 signed cheque books without face value from five separate banks in the name of KBE were found.

Preliminary investigation, Prosecution said, had established that the accused persons through their unlawful activities had fraudulently evaded taxes to the tune of GHC1.6 billion between the period of 2013 to April 2021 and they had concealed and disguised the proceeds into investments in Ghana and abroad.

Prosecution said investigations were underway.

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