AN ACCRA High Court has once again adjourned the trial of Alhaji Collins Dauda, a former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing 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 court adjourned the case to January 24, 2023, due to the absence of Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, former Chief Director at the Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing, who has been battling illness for some time and could not travel from Tamale to Accra for the trial.
He has missed court sittings a number of times due to ill health, and his lawyers had on an occasion presented the court with a medical excise duty and the court allowed the case to proceed in his absence.
His lawyer at the last sitting told the court the accused was still indisposed and could, therefore, not appear for the trial in person.
The prosecution led by Hilda Craig, a Senior State Attorney, however, said the court should not rely on the lawyer’s word alone, and asked that a medical report be presented to the court so that a decision could be taken on the matter.
Appearing before the court yesterday, Ms. Craig indicated that the Office of the Attorney General had been served with a medical report signed by one Dr. Braimah Abubakar, a Physician Specialist at Universal Health Clinic in Tamale that Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu was still unwell to travel from Tamale to Accra.
She, therefore, suggested to the court that a date is taken so that the prosecution could finally decide on what to do with the absence of the accused as a result of his health.
DAILY GUIDE understands that the prosecution is contemplating between giving Alhaji Yakubu time to recuperate and return for the trial or temporarily take him off the charges until he is fit to travel for the trial.
The court, presided over by Justice Elfreda Dankyi, indicated that the court did not have a copy of the medical report, but granted the prosecution’s request for an adjournment, and adjourned the case to January 24, 2023.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, together with Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, a former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing; Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, Chief Director at the Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing, contributed to the Saglemi Housing deal when it was prepared and signed. Also playing part were businessman Andrew Clocanas, Executive Chairman of Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, as well as Nouvi Tetteh Angelo, Chief Executive Officer and owner of Ridge Management Solutions Ghana Limited. The aforementioned are facing 52 charges, including causing financial loss to the state.
They are also facing charges of intentionally misapplying public property contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140, 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.
The state reportedly 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 former President Mahama and his NDC team was defeated in the 2016 polls.
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 US$200 million was spent when even the 1,502 housing units could not fully be completed.
Only 668 were done, according to investigations compiled and sent to the Attorney General’s Department, and these are not even habitable.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak