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NCA $4m trial: May 12 judgement day for Baffoe-Bonnie, 4 others

BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | muntalla.inusah@dailyheritage.com.gh

 THE COMMERCIAL Division of the Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Eric KyeiBaffour, has set May 1, this year, to deliver judgement in the case in which Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, the former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), is standing trial with four others.

The five accused persons who have been charged with misappropriating some $4 million of the NCA include William TettehTevie, former Director-General of the NCA; Nana OwusuEnsaw, a former board member; AlhajiSalifuMimina Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator; and a businessman, George Derek Oppong.

The trial, after series of some delays, commenced on January 16, 2018 when the State, led by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP),Mrs Yvonne AtakoraObuobisa, called its first witness, the Director of Legal Administration at NCA, AbenaAwarkoaAsafoAdjei.

However, after calling six witnesses for the state to close its case, the accused persons had the opportunity to open their defence and were successfully cross-examined.

The final of the cross-examination was concluded yesterday, after the state, led by DPP MrsObuabisa, concluded cross-examination of the 5th accused person in the case, George Derek Oppong.

Charges

The accused are standing trial for their alleged involvement in the embezzlement of $4 million of state funds during the purchase of listening devices for the National Security, which was sponsored by the NCA.

The accused persons have been charged with diverse counts of wilfully causing financial loss of $4 million to the state, stealing, conspiracy, money laundering, among other charges.
They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges and are currently on bail in the sum of $1 million each.

State witnesses

The State called six witnesses to prove their case and they are the Director of Legal Administration at the NCA, AbenaAwarkoaAsafoAdjei;Dr Isaac Yaw Ani, Deputy Director General in charge of Management and Operations at the NCA; and Henry Kanor, Deputy Director General in charge of Technical Operations at the NCA.

The rest are Colonel Michael KwadwoPoku, Director of Operations at the National Security; Duncan Opare, Deputy National Security Coordinator; and Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah, investigator of the case.

No defencewitnessed called

The accused persons, after opening their defence one after the other, did not call any witness to corroborate their stories.

Judgement day

Justice Kyei-Baffour, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, directed the parties to file their written addresses.

The court said “I will instruct that you file your addresses simultaneously by the April 20.

“I will deliver my judgment on the 12th of May 2020,” Justice Eric KyeiBaffour ruled.

Brief facts

According to the facts of the case, 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, and $1 million out of the 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.

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