BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | firstname.lastname@example.org
THE FORMER Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, has vehemently denied claims that he and Matthew William Tetteh Tevie, a former Director General of the NCA, discussed how they were going to share the four million dollars which came as part of their share in purchasing the cyber security machine.
Baffoe-Bonnie, who was being subjected to cross-examination by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Atakorah Obuobisah, also disagreed with the DPP that he held a meeting with Tevie and Dr. Ani, a Director of Finance of NCA, to make NCA bear the cost of the cybersecurity machine.
Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie, Nana Ensaw, a former NCA Board Member, Alhaji Osman Mimina, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator, and George Derek Oppong, a businessman, are being held for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.
The case has been adjourned to January 21.
Below are questions and answers
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP): In your own statement to the police dated July 25, 2017, which was tendered without any objection from you, you stated that you had a verbal discussion with A4 (Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman) and you agreed to share the total cost of $8m. It is therefore correct that you acted on exhibit G (request)?
Baffoe-Bonnie (BB): But we didn’t mention exhibit G here.
DPP: What I mean by exhibit G is that you acted on the request.
BB: That was not a formal act on my part that NCA should pay half of it. It was a casual conversation. I was trying to make A4 (Alhaji Osman) understand that the $8m was not something the NCA could support based on the content of the deliberation of the finance subcommittee.
DPP: This conversation also shows that you were copied because you had fair knowledge and you were waiting for it to come.
BB: I was copied but to say I was waiting for it to come is not correct.
DPP: It is correct that you had fair knowledge?
BB: Correct, because I was copied.
DPP: When you look at exhibit G, did it make any reference to exhibit 6?
BB: It does not. The same content, different figure. One is $34m and one is $8 million and if you situate it within the deliberations made within the financial committee, it says I’d get something less than $34million, then I can because I’m interested in the project.
DPP: You just agreed and told this court that provisions will be made in the future budget and this was not done.
BB: With respect to the budget, I think I did answer the question and I can repeat that since I was not a member of the finance subcommittee, I was not intimately familiar with most of the things they were doing.
DPP: The budget was approved by the board of which you were the chair, is that not so?
BB: That is not so. The budget gets approved by the financial subcommittee and it is reported to the board at meetings.
DPP: Take a look at the minutes of 131 meeting of the NCA board. From the minutes, it is said the meeting considered and approved the provisional budget as recommended by the finance subcommittee, so the finance committee only made recommendations and it is the board that makes the final decision by approving. In this particular instance the board chaired by you approved the budget which did not make any provisions or whatsoever for support to national security. Is that not so?
BB: That is so with an explanation. To my recollection, Dr Ani explained how the NCA, I believe currently still, handles industry support and development. These reports come in on regular basis to the authority. In other words, you can have a request from a particular institution today and you can get another from another institution the next day.
DPP: Dr Ani explained that NCA always makes provisions in its budget for institutional support, is that not correct?
BB: That is correct.
DPP: When you look at exhibit F, which is a request to transfer $4m to IDL account and from Dr Ani’s evidence in this court, you and A2 (William Matthew Tetteh Tevie) were the ones who were trying him to make these payment to IDL? Is that not so.
BB: That is not so, my lord.
DPP: Now from your own police statement in which you wrote that you agreed that NCA will pay half of the request of the $8m, which is $4m, and also the fact that at the time exhibit F was authored, the request had not been received at the NCA and Dr Ani who was not privy to the conversation between you and A4 (Alhaji Osman) could not have been privy to this amount except you told him.
BB: If you look at exhibit F (letter of transfer) I was not quoted so I had no idea.
DPP: You said in your statement that you took the decision to split the cost so that NCA pays $4m and national security pays $4m. Where was this decision taken?
BB: It’s been three years. I don’t remember.
DPP: Can you tell this court whether Dr Ani was present at this meeting.
BB: I don’t remember.
DPP: I put it to you that Dr Ani was not present at this meeting you had with Alhaji Osman where you and Alhaji Osman took a decision to pay $4m as the cost to be borne by NCA to cover the cyber security equipment.
BB: That is correct. Dr Ani was not present at any meeting I had with A4. Dr Ani in this court outlined how payment is made by NCA. Nowhere in his description could you find the role of the board chairman.
DPP: I put it to you that you in A2’s (Tetteh Tevie) office and together with A2 directed Dr Ani to prepare exhibit F.
BB: That is not so.
DPP: I further put it to you that exhibit G makes no reference or whatsoever to exhibit 6. Therefore exhibit G stands on its own.
- BB. That is not so.
DPP: It is clear from exhibit E that when exhibit G was received, payment had already been authorized without any approval from the board.
BB: That is not so.
DPP: This is further born out of exhibit F, which predates exhibit G.
BB: That is not so.