The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Twifo-Atti-Morkwa, David Vondee, has been hauled before court for defrauding by false pretence and money laundering in over $2.4 million deal.
The lawmaker has been charged with two counts of defrauding by false pretences 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).
However, the MP yesterday pleaded not guilty of the charges levelled against him and his lawyers led by Mr Edudzi Tamakloe prayed the court to grant him bail.
Accordingly, the accused was granted bail in the sum of GH¢2 million.
This was after Mr Tamakloe explained that the MP was already cooperating with investigations and that the lawmaker was willing to make available his passport to the court as surety.
The court granted the state prosecutors two weeks to make available to the MP, all documents they intend to use as evidence in the trial.
Adjourning the case to June 30 for case management conference, the court also directed the prosecutors to file witness statements to be used.
The Twifo-Atti-Morkwa MP is accused of collecting $2.4 million between August 2015 and July 2016 when the NDC was in power under the guise of selling a tract of land to a private company called, REI Ghana Limited.
He was alleged to have presented himself as a Chief Executive Officer of a private company, Klenam Construction Ltd and sold out the piece of land.
However, it was later revealed that Mr Vondee gave out land that did not belong to him and also failed to return the amount taken for the piece of land.
Particulars of offence
Particulars of offence signed by Senior State Attorney, Vivian K. Osei Tutu, on behalf of the Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame, said, “David Vondee, between August 2015 and July 2016 in Accra, with intent to defraud, obtained the consent of personnel of Africa REI Ltd to part with the sum of two million, four hundred thousand US dollars ($2,400,000) by representing to them that your company owned twenty (20) acres of land located at Frafraha in the Adentan Municipality.”
It added that “David Vondee, between August 2015 and July 2016 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region, took possession of the said amount knowing it to be proceeds of crime.”
“In August 2015, the complainant, Kojo Ansah Mensah, who is the Director of Africa REI Ghana Limited, 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.”
No land title
Later investigations revealed that the representations were false and that Klenam Construction Ltd had no title to the said land.
Further details indicated 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).
“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,” the document said.
It added that “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.
“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 the documents, Mr. Vondee in his investigative 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.