A former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, Richard Lassey Agbenyefia, who is on trial for stealing and causing financial loss to the state, is willing to admit guilt and refund the booty to the state.
His lawyers are willing to come under Section 35 of the Courts Act which allows a person accused of a criminal act against the state to refund the stolen monies and pay restitutions as well as compensations to the state.
DAILY GUIDE sources are saying that the former NDC MP, when successful under Section 35 of the Courts Act, could be made to refund over GH¢2 million which he stole from Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), a state agency, where he was board member.
VCTF, through the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under J. A. Kufuor, was established by Venture Capital Trust Fund ACT, 2004, (ACT 680) to provide financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The objective was to promote and support the private sector as an equal partner in achieving the country’s developmental goals by easing access to long-term funding to SMEs.
However, when the NDC assumed office, those put in charge appeared to have looted the funds and left the SME sector even poorer and, as a result, some of the culprits were currently being tried for their involvement in the loot.
Mr. Agbenyefia is on trial alongside the former Chief Executive Officer of VCTF, Daniel Duku, and four others for causing financial loss of GH¢42 million to the state between 2010 and 2015.
NDC MP role
The former NDC MP, according to the facts of the case presented by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, at the beginning of the trial used the names of nonexistent companies to fraudulently receive loans from VCTF.
He is also accused of obtaining loans in the names of companies based on false representations to VCTF without the knowledge, permission or approval of the owners of the companies.
Mr. Agbenyefia who initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, thereby denying the allegation, made a U-turn last week when his lawyer announced to the trial court that they were prepared to take advantage of Section 35 of the Courts Act to refund the stolen monies.
This was after the former CEO of VCTF, Daniel Duku, and two others in the matter being husband and wife, Irene Anti Mensah and Frank Aboagye Mensah, successfully struck an agreement with the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Department to refund GH¢18.5 million they stole from the fund.
Last Friday, Daniel Duku and two former staff of the fund were convicted of stealing from the state by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Anthony Oppong, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibilities as a High Court judge.
The conviction came after the accused persons admitted guilt and came to an agreement with the AG’s Department under Section 35 of the Courts Act to refund the stolen monies and pay restitutions and compensations to the state.
Per the agreement, Mr. Duku and Ms. Mensah, including her husband, Mr. Mensah, are to pay a total of GH¢18,544,802.13 to the state as refund, restitution and a fine by the court.
The accused persons are to refund the stolen monies to VCTF while the restitution and fines go to the state.
The accused persons are to make various initial deposits within seven days from last Friday and then pay the remaining amounts within three months or risk going to jail.