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Saglemi Housing Project case: Court adjourn over accused poor health

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
File Photo : Saglemi Housing Project
File Photo : Saglemi Housing Project

The health condition of one of the accused persons facing trial over the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project compelled the trial judge to adjourn the case to January 24, 2022.

A medical report written by a Physician Specialist at the Universal Health Clinic in Tamale, Dr Braimah Abubakar, revealed that the Chief Director at the ministry from 2009 to 2017, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, is unfit to move out of Tamale because of his health condition.

The prosecution, led by a Senior State Attorney, Hilda Craig, prayed the court, presided over by Justice Elfreda Amy Dankyi, to adjourn the case to enable the prosecution to determine its next line of action.

Not guilty

Alhaji Yakubu is standing trial with a former Minister of Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, his successor, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah; 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, have been charged with 52 counts of causing financial loss of $200m to the state over the housing project.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and were admitted to bail in various sums under various conditions.

The charges include wilfully causing financial loss to the state, misapplying public property, issuing false certificates and dishonestly causing loss to public property.

Dauda is currently on self-recognisance bail.

Agyeman-Mensah and Alhaji Yakubu are on a bail of $65 million each with three sureties.

Clocanas is on a bail in the sum of $179 million with three sureties while Angelo is on $13 million bail with three sureties.

The facts, as presented by the Attorney-General (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame, were that in August 2012, the then President, John Dramani Mahama, granted Executive approval to the Ministry of Housing for the construction of 5,000 affordable housing units, to be known as the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project.

The housing units, to be executed by Construtora OAS Ltd, were to be sold to workers through mortgage arrangements provided by the then Ghana Home Loans Company.

Mr Dame said the project was funded by Credit Suisse following parliamentary approval.

Review

Mr Dame said on February 27, 2014, Dauda, without parliamentary approval, reviewed the EPC agreement and signed both the original and the revised (restated) agreement with Construtora OAS, represented by Clocanas.

The revision allegedly changed the scope of works and the application of the $200 million approved by Parliament, the A-G said.

Disbursement

Credit Suisse, he said, disbursed the $198 million ($200 million less fees and transaction expenses) into the Escrow Account and the 40 per cent advanced payment to Construtora OAS was effected on February 27, 2013.

He said the contractor failed to apply the amount towards the intended purpose.

On December 21, 2016, he said, Yakubu again reviewed the original and revised (restated) agreement and signed them (second and his revised or restated), without recourse to Parliament.

That led to a further reduction in the scope of works to 1,412 housing units at a revised price of $181 million and extended the completion period to July 31, 2017, the A-G alleged.

Payment for no work

The prosecution further alleged that a series of payments were made to the contractor and sub-contractors for no work done.