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General News of Friday, 29 March 2019

Source: dailyguidenetwork.com

How ex-NCA Board 'shared’ $4m

An Accra High Court has admitted into evidence the ‘confession’ police caution statement of former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, who is facing trial with four others for causing financial loss to the state.

The ex-Board Chairman, in the police caution statement, which necessitated a mini trial, claimed the accused persons ‘benefited financially.’

The ‘confession statement’ became a bone of contention between his lawyers and the state in the trial of the former NCA Board members.

The $4 million, according to the prosecution, was meant for the purchase of the Pegasus equipment for counter terrorism, and the statement, which was read by the Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah in court, showed how the accused persons allegedly shared the money.

The court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor, after the mini trial, admitted the three further caution statements of Baffoe-Bonnie as evidence in the trial.

He, however, rejected three of the caution statements, which were taken at the beginning of investigations since they were not taken in the presence of an independent witness.

Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie, in the confession statement, allegedly told the police that he would make an initial refund of $40,000 and get the other accused persons to pay the remaining amount in “a couple of weeks.”

He said he instructed Nana Owusu Ensaw to collect $500,000 and share among William Tetteh-Tevie, Alhaji Salifu Osman and himself (Nana Ensaw).

According to the statement, Nana Ensaw took $200,000 and gave $150,000 each to Tetteh-Tevie and Alhaji Osman, who did not necessarily know the source of the money.”

Bank Statements

The investigator told the court that since the payment by NCA for the equipment was made through a bank transfer, he obtained the bank statements of NCA and Infralock Development Limited (IDL) owned by George Derek Oppong, who is also on trial, through the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for further investigations.

The bank statements, according to the investigator, revealed that at the time the National Security letter requesting financial support for the purchase of the equipment came, NCA had just a little over $57,000 in its accounts.

He said his investigations revealed that NCA later transferred the cedi equivalent of $4 million into their dollar account on three separate occasions.

He said the first and second transfers were $1.5 million each and the third transfer was $1 million.

The total $4 million was later transferred into the accounts of IDL.

Suspicious Deposit

Detective Nkrumah said a $300,000 deposit into the Stanbic Bank account of Nana Ensaw aroused his suspicion, as the deposit was made just at the time the accused persons allegedly shared the money.

The investigator said he subsequently invited Nana Ensaw for questioning on the source of the money.

Nana Ensaw told the investigator that he had saved the money while in medical school with the intent to establish his own private clinic.

He added that he realized the money from some contracts he executed and decided to convert it into dollar and deposited in his account.

“He showed me all the contracts that he executed but there was no proof of payments,” the investigator stated.

“As at the time the Pegasus system was purchased, Ghana did not need it. There was no authorization for the purchase of the system. When the equipment arrived in the country, it was never used for the benefit of the country but rather kept in a private residence under the watch of the accused persons. It was revealed that the accused persons took advantage of the situation to enrich themselves,” the investigator added.

Cross-examination of the witness will commence on April 4.