You are here: HomeNews2019 05 23Article 748667

General News of Thursday, 23 May 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

NCA case: High court orders Board Chair, 4 others to open defense

An Accra High Court has ordered the former Board Chair of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, and four others including a former Director General, William Tevie, to open their defence in the case where they have been accused of engaging in some illegal transactions while in office.

The order follows the dismissal of a submission of no case filed by lawyers of the five accused persons.

The defense teams immediately after the prosecution announced that it had closed its case, informed the court that they would exercise their rights per section 173 of Act 30 to file a submission of no case to drop the charges against them.

In the ruling, the judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour said the prosecution was able to establish a prima facie case, which requires the accused persons to give some explanations to enable the court get a clearer picture.

Baffoe-Bonnie is standing trial with William Tetteh Tevie, Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member; Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator and a businessman, George Derek Oppong for their alleged involvement in the embezzlement of $4 million of state funds during the purchase of surveillance equipment for the National Security.

They have been charged with a number counts of willfully causing financial loss, stealing, conspiracy and money laundering.

Witnesses

The prosecution in making their case called six witnesses namely, Abena Asarfo Adjei, Director of Legal Affairs at NCA; Dr. Isaac Yaw Ani, Deputy Director General in-charge of management and Operations; Colonel Michael Kwadwo Poku, Director of Operations at National Security Secretariat; Duncan Opare, Deputy National Security Coordinator and Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah, the investigator of the case.

Facts

According to the facts of the case as presented by the state, Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie and Osman were allegedly aided by Oppong to engage in the alleged illegal act.

The previous government, the prosecution said, had contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply 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 said 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 the equipment, was asked to fund the project.

It said $4 million was withdrawn from the account of the NCA, while $1 million out of the withdrawn amount was deposited into the account of the Israeli company.

According to the state, the remaining $3 million was lodged in the account of Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd. The prosecution said Osman allegedly fronted for the entire deal.

The accused persons are alleged to have later laundered the amount for their private benefit.