On April 4, 2023, the state prosecutors handling the suspected procurement breaches and corruption-related offenses involving three former officials of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) officials and one private man withdrew the initial charges leveled against the four accused persons. New charges have now been leveled against them, including eleven charges of corruption.
The accused persons were cited for procurement breaches in the special prosecutor’s investigative report. However, during the last sitting, the court set April 4 for trial to commence. In a new twist on Tuesday, the prosecution prayed the court to allow the team to withdraw the initial charges and substitute them with new charges.
High Court Judge Justice Ankomah Eric Ansah, owing to the withdrawal, struck out the old suit and discharged the accused persons. However, they were not allowed to leave the courtroom since a fresh suit was presented before the court. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all eleven charges.
The counsel for the defense pleaded for bail, which the court granted. The defendants have been ordered to deposit their passports at the court’s registry and provide two sureties each in the sum of 2 million cedis without justification. The sureties have been ordered to make an undertaking that in the event that the accused persons do not appear in court as ordered, they shall pay a bail sum of 2 million cedis to the state.
The accused are also not allowed to travel outside the jurisdiction of the court without express permission from the court. The court further instructed the prosecution to exchange all documents they intend to rely on in the case to the accused persons, as well as file witness statements of all they intend to use and serve the accused persons on or before April 18.
The counsel for the accused persons, Joseph Kpemka, spoke to Citi News after the proceedings. It remains to be seen how the case will unfold, but the new charges leveled against the accused persons indicate that the prosecution has strengthened its case against them. The court proceedings highlight the importance of due process and the rule of law in combating corruption and procurement breaches.