The trial of a National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP), David Vondee, who was charged by the Office of the Attorney General for allegedly defrauding a private company of $2.4 million, has been adjourned to July 21, 2021.
This was after the prosecution could not serve the accused person with disclosures as ordered by an Accra High Court on June 25.
The court, presided over by Justice Mary Nsenkyire, indicated that she had not seen any proof of service on the court’s docket.
The embattled MP, who was in court without his lawyer, also informed the court that he has not been served with any disclosures yet.
The court therefore, adjourned the matter for case management conference which will set out the modalities of the trial.
The accused, who is the MP for Twifo Atti Morkwa in the Central Region, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of defrauding by false pretence contrary to Section 131 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and money laundering contrary to Section 1(2) (c) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Act 2020 (Act 1044).
The court granted him a bail of GH¢2 million with two sureties to be justified, with no objection from the prosecution.
The judge ordered the prosecution to file its ‘disclosures’ within two weeks and subsequently the witness statements two weeks after the disclosures are filed, but that has not been done yet.
According to the facts read by Vivian Osei Tutu, a Senior State Attorney, the complainant called Kojo Ansah Mensah “is the Director of Africa REI Ghana Limited, while the accused David Vondee is the Chief Executive Officer and owner of Klenam Construction Limited.”
She said “in August 2015, the complainant, on behalf of his company, entered into a purchase agreement with Klenam Construction Ltd represented by the accused, who is the CEO and owner of the company, for twenty (20) acres of land situated at Frafraha in the Adentan Municipality at a cost of two million, four hundred thousand US dollars ($2,400,000 00).
“This was after the accused who represented Klenam Construction Ltd at all material times made representations to officials of Africa REI Ghana Ltd that his company owned the twenty (20) acres of land, free and clear of any encumbrances and that the company had title to sell the land to Africa REI Ghana Ltd,” the document said, adding “based on these representations, African REI Ltd paid a total amount of two million, four hundred thousand US dollars ($2,400,000 00) to the accused between August 2015 and July 2016.”
Ms. Osei Tutu told the court that investigations however revealed that “these representations were false and that Klenam Construction Ltd had no title to the said land,” adding “investigations revealed that on May 28, 2015, the accused, through his company Klenam Construction Ltd, sought to purchase about eighty acres of land from his grantors at a total cost of nine million, six hundred thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢9,600,000 00).”
She continued that “the terms of the agreement required the accused to make an initial payment of one million, six hundred thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,600,000 00) to the grantors and to subsequently pay an amount of one million Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,000,000 00) every three (3) months till the agreed purchase price was fully paid,” adding “other terms of the agreement provided that the accused’s company shall be entitled to only a portion of land commensurate to the amount of money they had paid at the time should the company fail to pay the full purchase price at the agreed period.”
The AG’s Department said that “knowing that his company had not completed their financial obligations toward their grantors and therefore had no title to any portion of the land, the accused proceeded to prepare an indenture covering about twenty (20) acres of the land in favour of the complainant’s company,” adding “the accused also presented a land title certificate number GA 44978 to the officials of Africa REI Ghana Ltd as evidence of his company’s ownership of the said land, even though there had been no valid registration of the land.
“Sometime in 2016, after the complainants had lodged a complaint of fraud against the accused to the police, the accused attempted to settle the matter amicably by granting to the complainant ten (10) acres of land as payment of the money taken from the complainant’s company. An official search at the Land’s Commission however, revealed the ten (10) acres of land did not belong to the accused or his company.”
According to her, Mr. Vondee in his investigation caution statement admitted collecting $2.4 million from the complainant’s company in exchange for twenty (20) acres of land which he has not been able to deliver to the complainant because he did not own the said land and did not have title to the lands he offered.