AG Hits Collins Dauda, 4 Others With New Charges

The Office of the Attorney General has filed 70 new charges against former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, who doubles as NDC MP for Asutifi South in the Ahafo Region, and four others involved in the $200 million Saglemi Housing project scandal.

Alhaji Dauda together with four others were initially charged with 52 counts relating to intentionally misapplying public property contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140, willfully causing financial loss to the Republic contrary to Section 179A (3)(a) of the Criminal Offence Act, 1960 (Act 29), among others.

But the prosecution yesterday withdrew the old charge sheet and filed in its place a new one made up of 70 charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state, issuing false certificate contrary to Sections 1 and 2 of the Government Contracts (Protection) Act, 1979, AFRCD 58 and dishonestly causing loss to public property contrary to Section 2 (1) of the Public Protection Act 1977 (SMCD) 140, and intentionally misapplying public property.

Apart from Alhaji Collins Dauda, Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, a former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing; Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, Chief Director at the Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the Saglemi Housing deal was prepared and signed; businessman Andrew Clocanas, Executive Chairman of Construtora OAS Ghana Limited as well as Nouvi Tetteh Angelo, the Chief Executive Officer and owner of Ridge Management Solutions Ghana Limited, are all on trial.

The court was, however, unable to retake the pleas of the accused persons as Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu who has for some time now been facing health challenges was once again unable to make it to court.

Hilda Craig, a Principal State Attorney indicated that the prosecution was presented with a medical report on Alhaji Yakubu yesterday morning indicating that he would not be able to attend court.

She said the usual thing would have been to take the pleas of the accused again, but “since A3 (Alhaji Ziblim) is absent once again we don’t know what the pleasure of the court is as some of the charges have the charges together with others so without his presence we would not be able to read those charges.”

She indicated that the letter said the accused needs bed rest for three months, and he needs assistance to walk.

“We have obliged the third accused and his doctors all this while but that cannot be a bar to this trial. The doctors indicated that the third accused can walk if aided, and if that is the case he can be aided to walk to the court at the next adjourned date so that the plea can be taken since the absence of the accused is delaying the start of the case,” Ms. Craig suggested.

She added that another adjournment for a month would be enough for Alhaji Yakubu to be aided to come to court.

Baffour Bonsu Gyawu Ashia, counsel for Alhaji Dauda, said they were yet to go through the new charge sheet and therefore, prayed the court to adjourn the matter to afford them time to study the new charges.

Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, counsels for Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah and Alhaji Yakubu agreed with his fellow lawyer, and added that since there is a modification to the charges, that will require the presence of the accused for his plea to be taken.

“We would pray that the matter is adjourned to allow the third accused to be present for his plea to be taken. My plea is that the third accused is given time to recover,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the court has agreed to a suggestion by Mr. Tamakloe for a video link to allow Alhaji to join the proceedings remotely instead of making him travel from Tamale to Accra in his medical condition.

Background

The state reportedly pumped about $200 million into the Saglemi Housing project which the Mills/Mahama administration initiated, but the housing units were never completed even though the funds had allegedly been exhausted before Mr. Mahama and his NDC were defeated in the 2016 general election and left office in early January 2017.

The initial agreement ratified by Parliament was for the construction of 5,000 housing units but by the time the project was being executed, only 1,502 housing units had been earmarked for construction without recourse to Parliament.

Interestingly, the contract amount of $200 million was spent when even the 1,502 housing units could not fully be completed.

Only 668 was reportedly done, according to investigations compiled and sent to the Attorney General’s Department, and those are not even habitable.

Source: DGN

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