June 23, 2024
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All Set For Collins Dauda, Others Trial

All is set for the commencement of the trial of 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.

The prosecution will on July 10, 2023, call its first of five witnesses as it strives to secure a conviction for the five accused persons for their roles in the scandal which took place during the John Mahama administration.

The court, presided over by Justice Ernest Owusu-Dapaa, a Court of Appeal judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, yesterday concluded case management to set out how the trial would be conducted and the manner in which witnesses would be called.

The defence lawyers per the time requested for cross-examination would be using a total of 1,952 hours in cross-examining the prosecution’s five witnesses.

Justice Owusu-Dapaa, after the conclusion of the case management and completion plan, said the court would be sitting from Monday to Wednesday every week, with each proceeding lasting for two hours.

Meanwhile, counsels for the accused persons have filed separate applications before the court asking it to order the prosecution to make disclosures of certain documents they deem to be crucial to the case of their respective clients.

The court has subsequently adjourned the case to July 3, 2023, to hear the motion for further disclosures after which the trial properly commences in a week’s time.

Trial

Alhaji Collins Dauda and four others are facing 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.

The others are 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.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Alhaji Yakubu, per a request, has been granted permission to absent himself from the trial on health grounds and his counsel, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, has been given permission to conduct the case in his absence.

The court on May 31, 2023, took the pleas of Alhaji Collins Dauda, Agyeman-Mensah, Andrew Clocanas, and Nouvi Tetteh Angelo, and subsequently took that of Alhaji Yakubu on June 7, after the court gave him 48 hours to appear before it.

Alhaji Yakubu appeared before the court in a wheelchair and pleaded not guilty to 25 counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the republic and another 18 counts of issuing false certificates for payment of monies for work on the Saglemi Housing project knowing that the work the payment was intended for had not been done.

Scandal

The state per the prosecution’s fact sheet 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 were reportedly done, according to investigations compiled and sent to the Attorney General’s Department, and those are not even habitable.

Story By Daily Guide

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