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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 18 January 2018


Cyber security surveillance was not been part of NCA’s mandate - Witness

Abena Asafu-Adjei  says conducting cyber security surveillance had not been part of NCA's mandate Abena Asafu-Adjei says conducting cyber security surveillance had not been part of NCA's mandate

Mrs Abena Asafu-Adjei, the Director, Legal and Administration, National Communication Authority (NCA) says conducting cyber security surveillance had not been part of the mandate of the authority.

According to Mrs Asafu-Adjei said until recently, the NCA did not have cyber security unit.

Answering questions under cross-examination by Mr Thaddeus Sory counsel for Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, Mrs Asafu-Adjei admitted that it was only last year that the authority cyber security unit was set up under the Information Communication (IT) Unit of the NCA.

Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman; William Tetteh Tevie, a former Director General; and Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member and two other are before the High court (Commercial division) over financial impropriety at the NCA.

The two others are Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator; and George Derrick Oppong, a Director of Infralocks Development Limited (IDL).

They have been variously charged with willfully causing financial loss to the State, conspiracy to steal and stealing, using public office for private gain, in contravention of the Public Procurement Act, Money laundering and intentionally misapplying public property.

The five, all pleaded not guilty and are on a bail of one-million dollars each as well as three sureties each.

Mrs Asafu-Adjei recounted that for past 14 years that she worked with the NCA, she had never heard of any request from that the National Security Council had made request to the NCA.

To her, Mrs Asafu-Adjei said the National Security had the biggest budget that any organisation in the country adding “money was not a problem to the National Security. It is a notorious fact that they have money and they don’t account for money spent.””

She disagreed with counsel’s suggestion that the cyber security system was procured following National Security Council’s request under the NCA’s Institutional Support and donations.

The first prosecution witness explained that if the cyber security system was made the National Security Council, it would have been captured in the NCA’s Board meeting and minutes.

According to her she became aware of the National Security Council letter request for institutional support after the case investigator had showed the said letter to her.

She said the same letter was also not captured by the NCA Board.

The witness said payments by NCA was normally effected after the board of NCA’s has approved it.

Mrs Asafu-Adjei recounted that one of the institutional support and donation made by the NCA was to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

According to her GBC was given over 2.2 million institutional support after the Ministry of Communication had written to them and same was discussed and approved by the NCA Board.

Mrs Asafu-Adjei debunked Mr Sory assertion that she was bitter and has decided to pay back the Ist accused (Baffoe-Bonnie) because at a point when she was asked to proceed on leave.

The witness explained that though she was sad over her “proceed on leave letter”, Baffoe Bonnie has been a good friend and she had embarked on some official trips with him.

Mrs Asafu-Adjei said she raised questions about her leave because there were other workers at NCA who had several years of accumulated leave but were still at post.

Answering further questions by Mr Agbesi Dzakpasu, counsel for Tevie, the witness agreed that the NCA Board operated under the authority’s terms of reference.

Counsel therefore prayed the court presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour to produce the terms of reference in court.

Mr Samuel Cudjoe, counsel for Ensaw prayed the court to order prosecution to produce all witness statement to defence counsel.

The court however asked Mr Cudjoe to make a formal application to that effect. It further ordered Mrs Asafu-Adjei to produce the NCA board’s terms of reference in court at the next sitting.

Sometime in 2015, the accused persons without authorisation took a decision to purchase a Cyber Surveillance system, which they claimed was to be used for anti-terrorism operations.

The system which was to be used in the fight against terrorism, reportedly has some of its components missing, and it cannot be utilised.

On December 22, last year, three persons, including Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former NCA Board Chairman and two others were hauled before the court for allegedly fraudulently purchasing of the Cyber Security Surveillance systems at a value of eight million dollars.

Sitting continues on February 23.

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