A National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Twifo Atti Morkwa in the Central Region, David Vondee, has been acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court where he was standing trial for fraud.
The MP had been charged by the Office of the Attorney General for allegedly defrauding a private company of $2.4 million in a deal involving the sales of land.
He was charged with 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), to which he pleaded not guilty and was granted GH₵2 million bail by the court.
Godwin Edudzi Tameklo, counsel for the accused, filed a submission of no case to answer after the prosecution had closed its case after calling three witnesses in the trial.
The court, presided over by Justice Mary Yanzuh, in her ruling held that the prosecution was not able to make a prima facie case – the ability to prove the ingredients of the charges levelled against the accused person and, therefore, acquitted and discharged him, bringing an end to the matter.
The facts upon which the MP was arraigned alleged that the complainant, Kojo Ansah Mensah on behalf of his company Africa REI Ghana Limited, entered into a purchase agreement with Klenam Construction Limited represented by the MP as CEO in August 2015, for twenty (20) acres of land situated at Frafraha in the Adentan Municipality at a cost of $2.4 million which was paid.
The facts said investigations however, revealed that Klenam Construction Limited had no title to the said land, as the MP on May 28, 2015, through his company sought to purchase about eighty acres of land from his grantors at a total cost of GH¢9.6 million.
“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 Limited as evidence of his company’s ownership of the said land, even though there had been no valid registration of the land,” the facts alleged.
“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 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 10 acres of land did not belong to the accused or his company,” it further alleged.
The facts added that Mr. Vondee in his investigation caution statement admitted collecting $2.4 million from the complainant’s company in exchange for 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.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak