A Member of Parliament for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who has been dragged to court for allegedly defrauding a company has pleaded not guilty.
David Vondee has pleaded not guilty to the charges of defrauding by false pretence and money laundering in a deal worth over $2.4 million.
The Twifo Atti Morkwa MP is accused of collecting $2.4 million between August 2015 and July 2016 under the guise of selling a tract of land to a private company called, REI Ghana Limited.
Per the facts of the case, Mr Vondee reportedly presented himself as a Chief Executive Officer of another private company called, Klenam Construction Limited during the transaction.
He is said to have sold the land located at Frafraha in the Adentan Municipality in the Greater Accra Region to REI Ghana Limited.
However, an investigation showed later, that Mr Vondee gave the company lands that did not belong to him and did not return the huge cash he collected from the company when the company demanded a refund of their money.
He has been charged with two counts 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, Act 2020 (Act 1044).
On the money laundering charge, the charge sheet stated that “David Vondee, between August 2015 and July 2016 in Accra, in the Greater Accra Region, took possession of the sum of $2,400,000 knowing it to be proceeds of crime.”
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 20 acres of the land in favour of the complainant’s company.”
He added, “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 a refund of the money taken from the complainant’s company. An official search at the Land’s Commission, however, revealed the 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 20 acres of land, which he has not been able to deliver to the complainant because he did not own the said land, thus did not have title to it.
The MP was called to respond to the charges on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. He told the court he was not guilty of the charges against him.
His lawyers led by Edudzi Tamakloe urged the court to grant him bail. He explained that the MP has so far cooperated with investigations and is willing to make available his passport to the court as well. Mr Vondee was then granted bail in the sum of ¢2 million.
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.
The prosecutors are to file witness statements to be used as well. The case has been adjourned to June 30 for a case management conference.