Two civil servants who have been caught in an alleged high-level corruption at the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) under the Ministry of Local Government, were arraigned before an Accra circuit court on Friday.
The two suspects, Benjamin Bampoh, Tema Metro Director of Roads and Francis Kwadzo Torsoo, New Juaben Minicipal Director of Roads, are said to have collected a total of GH¢3,000 from one Saaka Salia, under the pretext of awarding him a road contract.
Messrs Benjamin Bampoh and Francis Kwadwo Torsoo are said to have collected GH¢2,000 and GH¢1,000 respectively as bribes to aid in the award of the contracts.
They have been jointly charged with conspiracy and corruption by public officers, contrary to Section 239 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 29 of 1960.
The two have pleaded not guilty and the court, presided over by Aboagye Tandoh, admitted them to bail in the sum of GH¢30,000 with a surety each.
They are expected to reappear on November 28.
The alleged nefarious activities of the two were exposed when the complainant, after hearing several complaints about their activities, decided to prove the veracity or otherwise of the rumours.
Their counsel prayed the court to grant them bail as they would not interfere with police investigations.
According to the lawyer,, the case bothers on the reputation of the two and that they would readily be available in court to defend their rights.
Jusice Tandoh asked the prosecution, led by Chief Inspector George Amega, to make available their witnesses by the next adjourned date – November 28, 2017, for trial to begin.
It would be recalled that a private citizen in August this year petitioned the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to initiate disciplinary action against the two men.
Bismark Brown, a journalist working with Atinka Television in Accra, filed the petition at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development against them.
The broadcast journalist wanted the two investigated because he claimed they are part of a syndicate that is purportedly engaging in corrupt practices in the award of road contracts at the DUR.
The facts of the case as presented by Chief Inspector Amega are that the complainant, Saaka Salia, is an anti-corruption campaigner who resides in Accra.
He said the complainant in May 2017 received a series of reports that the accused persons had been using their offices to amass wealth by awarding road contracts to persons after taking huge sums of money from them – depending on the value of the contract.
He narrated that the complainant, in a bid to ascertain the veracity of the reports, went to the Tema office of DUR with some witnesses to find out the modus operandi of their activities.
Chief Inspector Amega stated that the complainant met Benjamin Bampoh in his office and convinced him (complainant) that he, together with his accomplice, could be awarded contracts to build some of the urban roads and so they should ‘do something.’
Bampoh then demanded that the complainant paid an amount of GH¢2,000, which the complainant did.
Chief Inspector Amega added that Bampoh then referred the complainant to his accomplice, Francis Torsoo, in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, who could also award them some of the urban roads contracts in the municipality.
He said the complainant met Torsoo at the African Regent Hotel, who also demanded to be given an amount of GH¢1,000 to facilitate the award of the contracts.
The two however, failed to deliver on the promises but instead convinced the complainant that the works had been slowed down due to strict measures put in place by the DUR in Accra and that they were working out a plan to eliminate the Director of DUR in Accra, Alhaji Abass Awolu, to pave way for more jobs.
The two were arrested after a complaint was lodged.
Chief Inspector Amega told the court that the two, in their statements, admitted taking the moneys but claimed they were gifts from the complainant.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak