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General News of Saturday, 6 July 2019

Source: dailyguidenetwork.com

NCA case lands in Supreme Court

The case involving four former board members of National Communications Authority (NCA) and a businessman has once again been sent to the Supreme Court.

Lawyer for former Director General of NCA, William Mathew Tetteh-Tevie, has filed an application for Judicial Review challenging the order by the trial court that he should open his defence.

The lawyer wants the highest court to quash the decision of Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor who ordered the accused persons to open their defence after he found that the prosecution had been able to establish a prima facie case against them.

The application is the latest among a litany of motions filed before the trial court and the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the judge to order them to open their defence.

Trial

Former NCA board members – Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, William Tetteh-Tevie, Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman and Nana Owusu Ensaw as well businessman George Dereck Oppong – are before an Accra high court charged with causing financial loss to the state, among other charges, in the purchase of Pegasus equipment.

The prosecution led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, closed it case on April 18, 2019, after calling six witnesses to prove its case.

Applications

After the prosecution’s case, the accused persons filed a submission of no case application insisting that the prosecution could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The presiding judge, in his ruling, dismissed the applications and ordered the accused persons to open their defence on May 30, 2019.

The five have since filed numerous appeals challenging the decision of the court to dismiss their submission of no case.

They then filed for a stay of proceeding pending the determination of the appeal but all the applications were dismissed.

They then went to the Court of Appeal seeking an order to stay the trial but those applications were equally dismissed and they were ordered to return to the trial court to open the defence.

Lawyer for Baffoe-Bonnie then filed a fresh application praying the trial court to stay proceedings pending an appeal of its ruling on saying their earlier application in respect of the admission of his client’s ‘confession statement’.

The application was also dismissed and Justice Kyei Baffour expressly told the lawyers to stop “prostituting with legal processes” by filing the “numerous frivolous and vexatious” applications.

The judge then ordered Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie to open his defence but his lawyer stated that they are entitled to a seven-day automatic stay to exercise their ‘rights’.

The court granted the request and subsequently called on Mathew Tetteh-Tevie to open his defence but his lawyer also told the court that he would need time to prepare his client.

Justice Kyei Baffuor then ordered Mr. Tetteh-Tevie to prepare to open his defence on July 4, 2019, and further ordered the other accused persons to be prepared to open their defence in case Mr. Tetteh-Tevie failed to do so to avoid “another needless adjournment.”

It is that order by the trial court that Mr. Tetteh-Tevie’s lawyer is challenging at the Supreme Court.

Justice Kyei Baffour subsequently adjourned the matter to July 25 awaiting the outcome of the application at the Supreme Court which is slated for July 23.