Give me last opportunity to save my client – lawyer pleads
Mr Thaddeus Sory, the Counsel for Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), on Tuesday pleaded with the High Court to give him time to get justice for his client.
This was when he requested the Court, presided over by Mr Eric Kyei-Baffour, to allow him to get the minutes derived from the 42nd Financial Committee (FINCOMM), which had become useful in his cross-examination.
The Court then adjourned the case to Thursday, October 25, to enable the NCA to furnish it with the document.
Justice Kyei-Baffour, in granting the plea, stated that it would afford Counsel the opportunity to finish cross-examining Dr Isaac Yaw Ani, the Director General in charge of Managerial Operations, who is a prosecution witness.
He emphasised that in order not to delay trial, the Court would exercise discretion by inviting relevant witnesses if only the said documents were available on the next adjournment.
The Judge advised Counsel to also request for any other document needed from prosecution apart from FINCOMM minutes on time in order not to get avoidable adjournments.
Mr Baffoe-Bonnie and six others including Mr William Tevie, the former Director General of NCA, are being held for allegedly conspiring and causing financial loss to the State.
The accused persons are said to have, in different ways engaged and caused the loss of eight million dollars in procuring cyber-security devices from Infralocks Development Limited for the state in aid of NCA’s work.
The Counsel brought in five documents to be used as evidence through Dr Ani, including a letter dated May 29, 2015, from the National Security Council Secretariat, copy of letter inviting members of FINCOMM to the 42nd meeting, Industry Support and Development as well as Management Accounts for the Second and Third Quarters.
Madam Yvonne Attakora Buobisa of the Attorney General’s Department initially objected to the tendering in of the letter through Dr Ani with reasons that it was not addressed to him and that he was only in court as a witness, providing information on the matters of finance and budget of the Authority.
She said the letter was not authenticated and had no particular reference and that she did not receive that letter, however, she was overruled.
The Judge explained that since the Counsel had knowledge of the letter, it did not matter whether he authored or received it, it was supporting a claim of allegation that the letter was discussed in a meeting Dr Ani took part.
The Counsel, therefore, asked Dr Ani whether he was invited for the FINCOMM as well as having copies of the agenda and other relevant documents and he answered in the affirmative.
When he further asked whether Dr Ani knew that the expenditure in support of the Ministry’s activities increased by 172.43 per cent above the budget, Dr Ani again answered in the affirmative.
Dr Ani noted that if the expense was over 100,000.00, it must also go to the Board for approval.
Mr Godwin Edudzi Kudzo Tameklo, Counsel for Mr Tevie, prayed the Court for the same minutes to be released to them as “no disclosure is a source of injustice,” adding that it might open a new line of defense for his client.
“For substantial justice and the penalty, my client will suffer. I pray the court permits us for a short adjournment, so that we would have the document from NCA and the opportunity to cross-examine based on that document,” he said.