The Managing Director of the Metro Mass Transit Limited Bennet Aboagye has strongly dismissed allegations of corruption and fraud levelled against him by some workers of the company.
A petition presented to the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu, against Mr. Aboagye and the Board Chairman Ahmed Arthur by one Lawal, the security coordinator of MMT stated that the MD and the board chairman had engaged in several financial malpractices and breached several procurement laws in the acquisition of some 300 buses since taking over the company over a year ago.
Lawal had also alleged that, Mr. Aboagye and a leading member of the NPP Dr. Amoako Tuffuor attempted to bribe him with GHc40, 000 when he confronted them with his evidence.
He is demanding the immediate dismissal and prosecution of the Managing Director.
But in a response, Mr. Aboagye claimed that he is being blackmailed by Lawal. According to him, Lawal had bugged his office with a recording device and threatened to release some audio conversations of him to the public if an amount of GHc1m was not paid.
Mr. Aboagye in his response confirmed paying an amount of GHc40, 000 to Lawal but stated that the amount was to trap Lawal to retrieve the supposed recording from him as advised by the Police CID.
Below is Mr. Aboagye’s response
THE BOARD CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS METRO MASS TRANSIT LTD ACCRA
CASE OF BLACKMAIL AND EXTORTION – CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
I officially present to you a case of blackmail and extortion which began about a month ago. As we still strive to keep working together in honesty, love and goodwill to build our dear company, this presentation would help you make prudent decisions concerning the petition submitted to the Special Prosecutor – Hon. Martin Amidu – and the alleged leaked tape which informs our meeting today.
Below is the chronology of events:
Wednesday, 14th March, 2018: – We had information that my office had been bugged. – I was advised to get Mr. Lawal’s laptop because it was alleged that he was playing some voices on it. Mr. Lawal is the security coordinator of the company.
– I consulted my lawyer who advised me to contact the BNI with a request to sweep my office.
Thursday, 15th March, 2018: – My Personal Assistant Mr. Yiadom Kessie called me early in the morning to inform me that Mr. Lawal had called him requesting for a meeting between him Lawal and the two of us at my office.
– According to Mr. Lawal, there had been a security breach in my office and we needed to come immediately.
– Since I was already on my way to the BNI, I directed my Personal Assistant to meet Mr. Lawal alone. – Mr. Kessie met him and Mr. Lawal suggested that, we should meet somewhere outside the premises of the company. It was agreed that we meet at KFC – North Industrial Area. – At KFC Mr. Lawal produced a transcript of our supposed conversations over the period I had been in office.
– It was at that meeting that he said on March 14, Wednesday night at about 9pm, some guys called him to meet them at Golden Tullip. There, he was given this transcript which seemed to enumerate a number of allegations against me.
– I then asked him, what the purpose of this transcript was or the motive behind it. He then handed me a threatening letter from the supposed people along with the transcript of the alleged recording ( C o p y a t t a c h e d a s A p p e n dix 1 ). In the threatening letter is a warning that reads, “ You can alert the security agencies if you will but that will be to the detriment of your reputation, image, your family image, business interest and the NPP party as a whole because we will unleash all our arsenals on you and Mr. Yiadom Kessie and etc .”
– He said, the people are demanding a sum of $1 million from me; an amount, he Lawal thought was quite outrageous and has therefore negotiated in advance on our behalf to reduce the amount to $500,000. I then asked him whether in the said transcript, he has come across any such sum. He responded that, “the guys are crazy.”
– I then excused myself and called Dr. Amoako Tuffour and briefed him on the development. Dr. Amoako Tuffour then asked us to come to his office with the security coordinator.
– While preparing to go to Dr. Amoako Tuffour, Lawal made another demand that, the people are saying that since I assumed office, I have increased the salary of some NPP employees and that I should reverse the decision. It was here that I realized it was an internal plot.
– We got to Dr. Amoako Tuffour who requested to talk first to Lawal alone. Afterward, he asked Lawal to excuse us. Dr. Amoako Tuffour then said that, it appears this guy has done some recordings on some NPP functionaries and that it was necessary for us to find a way of getting the said recordings from him. He indicated that, what Mr. Lawal had done was criminal, but for now, we should focus on retrieving the recording.
– Dr. Amoako wanted us to bait Lawal, so he proposed that instead of Lawal’s initial demand of $1 million, we should make an offer of GHc20,000.
– Lawal was then called back and we disclosed our offer to him. He then said that, he would have to go and talk to his ‘people’ about it. We all left.
Friday, 16th March, 2018: – We heard nothing from him. Saturday 17th March, 2018:
– Around 6:30am my wife brought a document to me which she had found lying on my compound. This document was a Criminal Check Report I did while preparing to travel to China and left on my office desk.
Apparently, Lawal had found a way to enter into my office, taken the Criminal Check Report, scanned it and written a threatening and extortion note on it. This document was thrown over the security of my wall in my personal house which was spotted by my wife. ( A copy is attached as Appendix 2 for your attention )
Monday, 19th March, 2018: – We went to the police CID Headquarters to inform them about this development. The police having listened to our story advised that, we should endeavor to bait Lawal to get the recording device. They also cautioned us for legal purposes to take pictures or audio recording of extortion when giving the money to him, which we did. – We didn’t hear from him on this day.
Tuesday, 20th March, 2018: – Mr. Lawal went to Dr. Amoako Tuffour telling him that the people were not agreeing to the proposed GHc20,000. So Dr. Amoako Tuffour in view of our plan and the police advice proposed GHc40,000. Between Tuesday 20th March and Thursday 22nd March, 2018:
– Between Tuesday and Thursday, we were trying to gather the money while informing the police of the development.
– All this while, Lawal was trying to portray that he was only playing an intermediary role and that he was innocent and rather intervening on our behalf. According to him, it was a group led by one Bawa which was behind this deal. It is important to note that, the said Bawa once called Mr. Kessie on phone and threatened him to pay the money, else, he would regret the consequences of failure to comply.
Thursday, 22nd March, 2018: – Dr. Amoako Tuffour called me that the security coordinator has now accepted to take the GHc40, 000 proposal. – We made GHc20, 000 available and Dr. Amoako Tuffour entreated Lawal to take the initial deposit of GHc20, 000 and bring the recording before final payment would be made.
– Lawal remarked that the ‘people’ are insisting on taking full amount so Dr. Amoako Tuffour advised him to go and convince them to accept part payment.
– Lawal then left the office and supposedly consulted them on the phone. He returned and said that the ‘people’ had agreed to accept the initial payment of GHc20, 000.
Friday 23rd March, 2018: – Lawal came for the initial payment of GHc20, 000 from Dr. Amoako Tuffour’s office in the State House. Dr. Amoako Tuffour then did audio recordings along with his CCTV camera capturing everything at the State House.
Saturday, 24th March, 2018: – At about 7am, Dr. Amoako Tuffour called me that the security coordinator was now prepared to give us the recordings and to take his balance. For that purpose we should meet in his office at East Legon at 9am. While there, Dr. Amoako Tuffour requested for the recordings but Lawal only presented a pendrive to Mr. Yiadom Kessie.
Initially Dr. Amoako Tuffour rejected the pen drive and demanded to have the entire recording device. Lawal then promised that, having received the full amount in hand now, he would present it to his ‘people’ and return by 5pm with the full recording device.
– After offering the final balance of GHc20, 000 to Lawal, Dr. Amoako Tuffour himself took pictures of the money being handed over to Mr. Lawal as evidence. [Copy of picture has been attached as Appendix 3]. – Since then he never showed up.
Sunday 25th March, 2018: – I updated the CID headquarters on the chain of events. In the evening of this Sunday, we travelled to China with the Board Chairman.
Wednesday, 28th March, 2018 – While in China at about 4am, I had a call from the CID Headquarters that Lawal had been picked up from MMT and that their initial investigation pointed to the fact that, Lawal was acting alone.
– According to the police, he was detained and later granted bail. Observations and Conclusion: – This is a clear case of extortion and blackmail by an employee – Interestingly, Lawal who acted as an intermediary initially is now the petitioner in this case.
– It is very clear from the threatening letter and the note he wrote on the copy of the Criminal Check Report that Lawal was incensed by MD’s decision to report the matter to the police, and true to his word, he has come up with damaging fabrications to dent my image.
– It is worthy of note that we have not been able to open the pendrive Lawal handed over to us to enable us listen to its content.
– The CID headquarters is currently handling this matter.