The Twifo Atti Morkwa MP in the Central Region, David Vondee, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of defrauding by false pretence and money laundering.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Twifo Atti Morkwa in the Central Region, David Vondee, has been granted bail in the sum of GHC 2,000,000 with two sureties to be justified by the Criminal High Court after pleading not guilty to two counts of defrauding by false pretence and money laundering.
The Twifo Atti Morkwa lawmaker was arraigned on Tuesday (25 May) before Justice Mary Maame Ekue Nsenkyire where his charges were read to him and his plea was taken. Lead lawyer for the accused person, Godwin Tamakloe, in his application for bail indicated that his client is willing to deposit his passport with the registry of the court to demonstrate good faith and his willingness to make himself available at all times to stand trial.
Vivian Osei-Tutu, the Senior State Attorney leading the prosecution did not oppose the application for bail. To this end, Justice Nsenkyire granted the accused person same.
The court further ordered that the State should within the next one month, make full disclosure of all documents, files and evidence it intend to rely on to the accused person and to the court. Within the same period, the State is also required to file and serve on the accused person, all witness statements. The court subsequently adjourned siting to Wednesday 30 June 2021 for case management conference (CMC) to commence.
The two charges
Vondee is standing trial on charges 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 2020 (Act 1044).
Facts of the case
The brief facts of the case are that the complainant 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. 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.
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. Investigations however revealed that these representations were false and that Klenam Construction Ltd had no title to the said land.
Investigations revealed that on 28th May 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 (GHc 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 (GHC 1,600,000.00) to the grantors and to subsequently pay an amount of one million Ghana cedis (GHc 1,000,000.00) every three (3) months till the agreed purchase price was fully paid.
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. Knowing that his company had not completed their financial obligations towards 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 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 company. An official search at the Land’s Commission however revealed that the ten (10) acres of land did not belong to the accused or his company.
In his investigative cautioned statement, the accused admitted collecting two million, four hundred thousand US dollars ($2,400,000.00) from the complainant company in exchange for twenty (20) acres of land which he has not been able to deliver to the complainant because he does not own the said land and does not have title to same. The accused person was thus arraigned based on the facts as stated.