The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on Tuesday arraigned three executives of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) and an executive of A&QS Consortium Limited before the High Court (Criminal Division) in Tamale.
They were charged with six counts of conspiracy to commit crime.
The accused persons are Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NDA, Stepehn Yir-eru Engman, Deputy CEO in-charge of Operations at NDA, Patrick Seidu, Deputy CEO in-charge of Finance and Administration at NDA, and Andrew Kuundari, CEO of A&QS Consortium Ltd.
They have been charged with conspiracy to directly or indirectly influence a procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract where the contract sum was inflated from GHc5.72 million to GHc10.4 million.
Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, Patrick Seidu and Andrew Kuundari have been charged with a further count each of directly or indirectly influencing the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract, while Stephen Yir-eru Engman has been charged with further two counts of the same offence.
All the accused persons were in court with their respective counsels, and pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Miss Cynthia Lamptey, Deputy Special Prosecutor, who read the facts of the case to the court, said the charges were in relation to the procurement of services for the execution of projects under the government’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme.
Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, Counsel for the second and third accused persons, who spoke on behalf of the accused persons in court, prayed the court to grant them bail, arguing that the accused persons were very responsible adults, married with children, had fixed places of abode and were not flight risk, and would avail themselves for the trial.
Ms Lamptey, the prosecutor, told the court that the OSP was not opposed to granting bail to the accused persons, but the bail conditions should be such that they had substantial sureties, including depositing their passports at the registry of the court.
His Lordship Justice Eric Ansah Ankomah, Justice of High Court (Criminal Division), Tamale, presiding over the case, granted the accused persons bail in the sum of GHc2,000,000.00 with three sureties each for the accused persons.
He adjourned the case to February 28, 2023 for case management conference.
His Lordship Justice Ankomah said the accused persons were to justify the bail conditions by depositing their passports at the registry of the court, providing documents covering landed property with GHc500,000.00 each to the registry of the court with an undertaking that the said property was free from encumbrances and would not be used in a manner that would affect the document in case of the estreatment of the bail bond.
He said he would do an expeditious trial because the case was of public interest and ordered the OSP to file all documents it intended to rely on in the case at the court and have same served on all the accused persons or their counsels within three weeks.
He further ordered the OSP to file its witness statements of its witnesses within those same three weeks.