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General News of Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Source: Class FM

Former NCA boss granted $1m bail

Commercial Court 7 of the Accra High Court presided by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour has granted bail to the remaining two of five people, including some ex-National Communication Authority (NCA) management members, who are standing trial for willfully causing financial loss to the state as far as the procurement of a $6million monitoring equipment for the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is concerned.

Former Chief Executive Officer of the NCA, William Tevie and Nana Owusu Esuon, were on Tuesday, 9 January admitted to a $1million bail each with two sureties. They are to surrender their passports to the court registrar.

The two pleaded not guilty to all the counts preferred against them.

The other three appeared in court on 22 December 2017 and were granted $1 million bail each with three sureties and were also to surrender their passports to the court registrar.

They include former Board Chair of the NCA, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie; Mr George Oppong, a local agent for Infralocks Development Ltd.; and Alhaji Limuna Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator.

All five were on 22 December 2017 charged and arraigned for wilfully causing financial loss to the state contrary to section 23(1) and section 179(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29.

The five were also charged with 16 other offences.

Facts of the Case

The state believes Mr Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Tevie, and Alhaji Osman, were aided by Mr Oppong, a private citizen, to engage in the act.

According to the state, the previous administration had contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply listening equipment at the cost of $6 million, to enable the authorities monitor conversations of persons suspected to be engaged in terrorism.

Mr Oppong also charged $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million. The state said National Security did not have the money to fund the transaction, therefore, the NCA, which has supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.

The officials according to the state, withdrew $4 million from the accounts of the NCA and paid $1 million into the accounts of the Israeli company.

The remaining $3 million was lodged in the accounts of Mr Oppong, who acted as a representative of local agent Infraloks Development Ltd.

The entire deal was allegedly fronted by Alhaji Osman, Minister of Information Mustapha Abdul-Hamid told journalists last year.

Justice Kyei Baffour proposed to hear the case on every week day as part of measures to expedite the trial but lawyers for the accused persons said such a routine would inconvenience them and their clients.

A compromise schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays was reached.

The case was adjourned to 16 January.