Eighteen months after filing criminal charges against a former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda; his successor, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, and three others over the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project, the trial has been at a standstill due to the health of one of the accused.
The accused persons, who made their first appearance in August 2021, are yet to take their pleas following the filing of fresh charges containing 72 counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, misapplying public property, issuing false certificates and dishonestly causing loss to public property.
The case has suffered continuous adjournments as the Chief Director of the ministry from 2009 to 2017, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, is unable to move from Tamale due to his medical condition.
The court was once more compelled to adjourn the case as the Tamale High Court has no video conference facilities to make it possible for the former chief director to take his plea.
The other accused persons in the case are the Executive Chairman of Construtora OAS, the Brazilian company which constructed the affordable housing project at Saglemi, Andrew Clocanas, and a director of RMS, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) consultancy subcontractor, Nouvi Tetteh Angelo.
The Court was expected to take their pleas last Thursday at the Court presided over by Justice Elfreda Amy Dankyi.
But, Alhaji Yakubu’s plea will be taken via a virtual video link.
However, when the case was called, the prosecution, led by a Principal State Attorney, Hilda Craig, said the Tamale Court did not have the requisite facility to enable the accused to take his plea through the video link.
Ms Craig said the prosecution was not comfortable with the continuous adjournment of the case.
She further told the Court that the medical report on the accused indicated that the accused could walk when assisted.
She added that there were trials ongoing with accused persons having similar conditions but were able to make it to Court.
“I believe Alhaji Yakubu is not treated in his house, he moves to the hospital and somebody takes him, if he is able to be taken to the hospital for his treatment and somebody takes him, whoever is able to take him to the hospital for his treatment can equally aid him to come to court at least for the plea to be taken,” she submitted.
Counsel for Alhaji Yakubu, Godwin Tameklo, prayed the Court for a further adjournment to settle on a technological option available to aid his client take his plea.
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