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General News of Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Source: Starrfmonline.com

NCA case: Defence lawyers withdraw certiorari application

Defence lawyers in the case of the Republic versus Eugene Baffoe Bonnie and four others have redrawn an application for certiorari, seeking to quash the decision of the High Court to admit into evidence a page out of a full document tendered into evidence by prosecutors.

According to the prosecutors, the full document cannot be tendered into evidence because of its national security implications.

The Defence lawyers based on Article 135 (1) of the 1992 Constitution which states that “the Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether an official document shall not be produced in court because its production or the disclosure of its contents will be prejudicial to the security of the State or will be injurious to the public interest”, were seeking to quash the decision of Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s Court to admit part of the document and not the whole due to national security concerns raised by State prosecutors.

However, a five-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Julius Ansah drew the attention of the defence lawyers to the fact that they cannot be seen prosecuting the case of the State by demanding what they should or should not tender.

According to Starr News’ Wilberforce Asare who is monitoring the proceedings, the defence lawyers after the caution from the Bench, withdrew the application without liberty to reply.

All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to various counts of causing financial loss of $4 million to the state.

The High Court had granted each accused person a $1-million bail, with three sureties, and directed them to surrender their passports to the registrar of the court.

According to the facts of the case, as presented by the A-G, Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie, Ensaw and Osman were allegedly aided by Oppong to engage in the criminal act.

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

A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, charged $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million. The facts explained that the National Security did not have the money to fund the transaction and for that reason, the NCA, which had supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.

It said $4 million was withdrawn from the NCA’s account, while $1 million out of the withdrawn amount was deposited into the account of the Israeli company.

The A-G explained that the remaining $3 million was lodged in the account of Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd.