NCA had no contract with IDL – Witness

Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie

Mrs Abena Asafo-Adjei, the Director, Legal and Administration, National Communication Authority (NCA) on Tuesday said the authority did not have any contract with Infralocks Development Limited (IDL) in relation to the purchase of the Cyber Surveillance Equipment.

According to Mrs Asafo-Adjei her attention was drawn to the IDL contract by a Police Investigator, investigating the case of the three former officials and two others over an alleged malfeasance into the purchase of a Cyber surveillance equipment.

Mounting the witness box at an Accra High Court, Mrs Asafo-Adjei said when a copy of the IDL and NCA contract was showed to her, she scanned it and went through the authority’s register of contracts but found none relating to it.

The first prosecution witness said, William Tetteh Tevie, a former NCA Director General signed the IDL and NCA contract.

The three NCA officials are Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman; William Tetteh Tevie, a former Director General; and Nana Owusu Nsaw, a former board member.  

The two others are Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator; and George Derrick Oppong, a Director of Infralocks Development Limited (IDL).

They have been variously charged with willfully causing financial loss to the State, conspiracy to steal and stealing, using public office for private gain, in contravention of the Public Procurement Act, Money laundering and intentionally misapplying public property. 

The five, all pleaded not guilty and are on a bail of $1 million each as well as three sureties each. 

Mrs Asafo-Adjei, who was led in evidence by Mrs Yvonne Attakorah Obuobisa, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), took the court through how the NCA Budget Plan and Procurements were prepared.

She explained that normally the authority’s Budget Plan for Procurements were submitted to the authority’s tender committee after which same were submitted to the Board for approval.   

According to the first prosecution witness, in situations where there was the need to purchase any item or equipment, a supplementary budget was prepared to that effect.   

However, Mrs Asafo-Adjei said the purchase of the Cyber Surveillance Equipment, which was not included in the Procurement and Budget Plan, had no supplementary budget prepared for its purchase. 

Mr Osafo Buabeng, counsel for Oppong objected to the tendering of the Procurement and Budget plan, saying that, admitting them in evidence would prejudice the trial and that the admission of the two plans did not meet the requirement of the law when it comes to authenticity. 

Prosecution however held that the two plans had the stamps of the NCA and same had been certified.

The Trial Judge, Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour upheld prosecution’s argument.

Mrs Asafo-Adjei tendered the NCA Board Meeting minutes dated from January 2015 to December 2015.  

Mr Thaddeus Sory and Mr Buabeng counsels for Baffoe Bonnie and Oppong objected to the tendering of the 129th and 134th editions of the NCA Board Meeting minutes on the basis that they were not signed by the Board Chairman and the then Board Secretary, Mrs M. Ishak Pelpuo.

Defence counsels quizzed prosecution as to why some minutes of the NCA board meeting had been signed whiles other were not.

According to them, those that had not been signed could not be admitted in evidence under the Evidence Act.

Prosecution however argued that the copies of the Minutes were taken from the NCA’s record book and could be produced in court, adding that, it was deliberate that some of the minutes were not signed.  

The court upheld defence counsel’s argument, saying, the unsigned minutes did not meet requirements of authenticity. 

Sometime in 2015, the accused persons without authorisation took a decision to purchase a Cyber Surveillance system, which they claimed was to be used for anti-terrorism operations.

The system, which was to be used in the fight against terrorism, reportedly has some of its components missing, and it cannot be utilised. 

On December 22, last year, three persons, including Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former NCA Board Chairman and two others were hauled over the alleged fraudulent purchase of Cyber Security Surveillance systems at a value of $8 million.

Source: GNA

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