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General News of Monday, 18 May 2020

Source: Bernard Ralph Adams, Contributor

NCA trial: Jailed persons were not found guilty of stealing, conspiracy to enrich themselves - Former Deputy Minister

A former Deputy Communications Minister, Edward Ato Sarpong, believes the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour did not find the former D-G of the National Communications Authority (NCA), William Tetteh Tevie, and ex Board Chairman, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie guilty of stealing and using public office for personal gains.

Mr Ato Sarpong, however, understands the former Mahama appointees were convicted on counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, misuse of public funds and breaches of the Public Procurement Act.

"My understanding is that on counts such as stealing, conspiracy to enrich self and money laundering, all the accused persons were found not guilty. The three convicted persons, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, William Tevie and Alhaji Osman, were convicted on counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, misuse of public funds and breaches of the Public Procurement Act." Mr Ato Sarpong opined.

An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Kyei Barfuor on Tuesday handed a six-year jail term to Mr. William Tetteh Tevie, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, and slapped a five-year jail term on Salifu Osman, a former National Security representative coordinator.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour found them guilty of causing $4 million financial loss to the state.

Among the charges were stealing, using public office for personal gains, and willfully causing financial loss to the state in respect of the purchase of a Pegasus machine worth $4 million, to among other things assist in the fight against terrorism.

But in an article dubbed "Tragic: Caught in Web of Political Vindictiveness?", Mr Ato Sarpong described the judgment as "tragic" which has made his "my heart remains heavy and my eyes still full of tears".

According to him, "The 12th of May 2020 will forever remain another sad and black day in the history of our nation" Mr Ato Sarpong explained "For it was yet another day that service to motherland was thrown to the dogs. My thoughts and prayers are with the convicted persons and their families at this extremely difficult time."

The former Deputy Communication Minister under the John Mahama-led administration indicated that William Tevie, the former Director-General of the NCA is a "good man caught in a web of partisan political vindictiveness"

"This is a man who has served this country both in private and public service with excellence: The man who led the deployment of the first-ever internet connectivity to many state institutions and taught some of our elders of today the use of a computer. Tevie is one we can describe as a complete technology professional. In Public life, he served as Director-General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), contributing greatly to the set-up of the nation’s data centre and leading the rollout of the backbone of our national fibre-optic infrastructure," he said.

"Indeed, it is my genuine belief that William Tevie is a good man caught in a web of partisan political vindictiveness. If this is how we, as Ghanaians, treat our good people, our experts, our astute professionals, our change and transformational leaders, then history will not serve as a motivator for our young, smart and intelligent technocrats to serve in public service or political office. May God save our dear nation."

Meanwhile, lawyers for the jailed former NCA staff have indicated that an appeal against the conviction will be filed at the Court of Appeal.

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