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General News of Thursday, 18 January 2018


NCA trial: Suspects enjoying ‘special privileges’ in Court

The 4 suspects in the case were made to use other exits not open to the public The 4 suspects in the case were made to use other exits not open to the public

The five individuals facing trial at the Commercial High Court over some suspicious contract at the National Communications Authority are reportedly receiving some special treatment at the court.

According to sources, the suspects, after their case hearing today, did not emerge out of the courtroom through the approved public exit but were allowed to use some other exits that are permissible only to court officials.

According to Starr News’ court correspondent Wilberforce Asare who was in court today, reporters who had gathered to take pictures or request interviews from the suspects after the hearing, were left disappointed as the suspects used privilege exit.

” We had gathered to take pictures like we normally do after hearing and maybe get some good interviews but before we realized they had gone through other exits at the court which the public or suspects are not allowed to use,” Asare said.

Meanwhile, the First prosecution witness of the State, Abena Asafo Adjei, in the case today told the Commercial High Court that the NCA board never discussed nor approved any contract in any of its meetings.

Giving her evidence on the second day of the on-going trial in Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s Court, the Witness was handed three sets of documents being the 135th to 137th minutes of the NCA Board meetings. The Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Atakorah Buabisa requested of the Witness to peruse and tell the court which of the accused persons were present at the meetings.

Minutes of NCA Board Meetings

The Court accepted all three documents after defense lawyers raised no objections to it. The Witness proceeded to tell the Court that the 135th meeting minutes shows that the first four accused persons were all present at the meeting, (namely Eugene, Tevie, Nana Owusu and Alhaji Mimina).

For the 136th meeting, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons(namely Eugene, Tevie, Nana Owusu), were present. For the 137th meeting, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons were present. After perusing the three documents at the request of the DPP, the Witness told the Court that no mention of such a contract came up during any of the three board meetings.

Cross Examination of 1st Prosecution Witness

The State, having completed the leading of the first prosecution witness to give her evidence in chief, rested as the lawyer for the first accused person, Thaddeus Sory, picked up the duty of cross-examining the Witness.

Cross Examination by 1st Defense Lawyer

Lawyer Sory first asked the witness to confirm whether it was during the tenure of Eugene Baffuor Bonnie that she was removed as Director of Legal Administration. The Witness answered yes to the question. The next question sought to confirm whether it was during the tenure of Eugene Baffuor Bonnie that she was compelled to go on leave because she was refusing to do so. The Witness replied that, that was not the case and that others had 10 months leave yet were not compelled to go on leave.

The next question to be posed sought to enquire from the Witness if she felt discriminated against and treated unfairly by the first accused. The Witness replied that it is not true and that Mr. Bonnie had been a good friend since he took over as Board Chairman and that they travelled together on official trips sometimes.

Lawyer Sory further asked the witness whether the NCA has a Cyber Surveillance Unit since she had said in her previous examination that the NCA did not have a Cyber Unit until recently. The Witness replied that the NCA doesn’t have one. Lawyer Sory asked the Witness whether she is aware that the equipment were purchased as a result of a request from the National Security aparatus which asked NCA for institutional support. To this question the witness said she was not aware.

Lawyer Sory suggested to the Witness that the equipment were purchased as a result of the request from the National Security which asked NCA for institutional support. The Witness disagreed and explained that such a request would have gone to the NCA Board for approval.

Cross Examination by 2nd Defense Lawyer

After ending his cross-examination, lawyer for the 2nd accused person took over to start his own cross-examination on his client’s behalf. Lawyer Dzakpasu sought to know whether the Witness, who is the NCA Director Legal Administration, would know if a request comes to the Board for institutional support. The Witness replied that she wouldn’t be aware.

Lawyer Dzakpasu further asked if the NCA as an organization was in the position to know what she did not know about. Mrs Asafo Adjei replied that the NCA was unaware of the contract. She explained that they searched through documents in the Director General’s Secretariat and didn’t find any trace of the contract document.

Adjournment of Proceedings

Lawyer Dzakpasu’s enquiry about the existence of a charter that regulates the operations of the NCA Governing Board led the Court to adjourn sitting to allow the first Prosecution witness to supply the charter to the Court. The Court subsequently set the 23rd of January, 2018 as date for sitting to resume.

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