$4m NCA scandal: Court grants in-camera hearing request
An Accra High Court has decided to have an in-camera hearing of the testimony of one of the witnesses in the National Communications Authority case involving former board chairman Eugene Baffoe Bonnie and four others.
The five are facing trial for causing financial loss to the state.
This follows an oral application by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa who maintained that the third prosecution witness’ disclosure borders on state security.
The DPP premised her application on Article 19(15) of the 1992 constitution, 3news.com’s Selorm Amenyah reports.
Though all cases are to be heard in public, the article gives exceptions which include state security, public safety and public morality.
According to Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, the information to be provided by the third prosecution witness who is also a national security representative borders on national security hence the application for the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour to clear the court with the exception of the accused persons and their lawyers, prosecution lawyers as well as the witness.
Counsel for the accused persons objected the oral application on a number of grounds including the mode of the application which they believe should have been by a formal application.
They also contended that they have been surprised by the application which they did not have fore knowledge of.
However, the court in its ruling maintained prosecution had invoked Article 19(15) of the constitution, and also considering the overriding matter of state security, the application was granted.
The case in question involves the former Director General of the NCA, William Tevie and four others, who have been arraigned for alleged fraud and for causing financial loss to the state over $6 million contract signed between the NCA and Infraloks Development Limited (IDL).
The five are said to have fraudulently withdrawn some four million dollars from NCA accounts without justification.
Reports indicate that an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited was contracted to supply the surveillance equipment at the cost of $6 million, to enable National Security monitor conversations of persons believed to be engaged in terrorism.
IDL was also reportedly charging $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million.
But the three, through the said contract, allegedly withdrew $4 million from the accounts of the NCA and have failed to account for it.
Only $1 million was allegedly paid into the accounts of the Israeli company.
So far, the NCA’s Director of Legal Affairs is one of the key witnesses to who has made an appearance in court.