Madina District court: Woman charged for stealing ex-husband’s land title certificate for loan
"In the final analysis, we order the appellant to proceed back to the trial District Court to open her defense within 14 days from today," the Court of Appeal said in dismissing the appeal.
Madam Eunice Adu, ex-wife of Martin Acheampong, a businessman is being tried at the Madina District court on one count of stealing and four counts of forgery for using her ex-husband’s land title certificate for a loan at Stanbic Bank without his consent.
Together with a staff of the bank, Patrick Kodua, who faced one (1) count of Abetment of crime thus forgery of official document contrary to Sections 20(1) and 153 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 [Act 29], the former is yet to open her defence.
Patrick has been found guilty, convicted and sentenced to a fine of five hundred penalty units amounting to Six Thousand Ghana Cedis (Ghc6000.) or in default, 24 months IHL.
Just about the time of their divorce in 2018, Martin noticed that his land title certificate to a house in which they lived at East Legon was missing.
Eunice however denied knowledge of the same so he went to the Lands Commission to do a replacement. It was at this point that he found out that the said certificate had been used to take a loan from Stanbic Bank.
He, therefore, made reports at the police station which led to them securing a court order to the bank for the production of copies of a consent letter, 2016 and 2017 facility letters, the land title certificate, a deed of mortgage, a memorandum, a statutory declaration, a board resolution letter and a financial statement.
Further investigation thus established that the ex-wife had indeed used the certificate as collateral to secure a loan facility of $150,000.00 and had forged the man’s signature and the consent letter as well as a statutory declaration at his blind side.
The two were thus arrested, charged and arraigned at the Madina District court.
Subsequent to the close of the prosecution’s case at the trial court, the lawyer for Eunice Adu filed a Submission of no Case but the same was dismissed because it found a prima facie case against both persons.
Dissatisfied with the trial court’s decision, they appealed at the High Court however the High Court upheld the trial court’s ruling and thus ordered them to go and open their defence.
Patrick Kodua, the second accused on his part, heeded this order, went back to the District Court and faced the full trial after which he received his sentence.
Court of Appeal
Eunice, however, continued the fight at the Court of Appeal where she averred among others that the High Court erred by holding that she had stolen the land title certificate despite the evidence that she and the ex-husband had used the same document for a loan facility for Travel Bureau Limited, a company they run previously.
Also, she argued that it was wrong for the trial court to have accepted from the prosecution the substitution of a new charge sheet without trying the case de novo after it had taken their pleas.
In its ruling, the three-member panel in the opinion of Bright Mensah(JA) disagreed with the omnibus claim of a miscarriage of justice and thus dismissed the same.
Also, it was held that the prosecution had been able to establish the essential ingredients of all the 4 charges levelled against Madam Eunice at the Madina District court and thus dismissed the appeal and ordered her to open her defence within 14 days.
Read the Court of Appeal ruling here.