The former Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mathew Tetteh-Tevie, has closed his defence in the case in which he and four others are being tried over the purchase of Pegasus cyber security equipment by the NCA for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).The amount involved in the case for which they are on trial on charges of stealing, causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, among others, is $4 million.
On January 23, 2020, Mr. Tetteh-Tevie opened his defence and refuted all the allegations levelled against him by the prosecution, saying he had never stolen anything from anyone all his life.
The accused, in his defence, also claimed the Pegasus cyber security equipment purchased by the NCA for the NSCS was the ‘best’.
He was put under cross-examination by lawyers for the other accused persons while he reiterated his denial of all charges against him.
Mr. Tetteh-Tevie also told the court that the decision to purchase the Pegasus equipment started way before he became the Director-General of the NCA and was only given handover notes on the transaction when he took office. “I was briefed on a lot of these things. So it was a project in motion before I got to NCA,” he added.
When the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, took her turn to cross-examine him, the ex-NCA boss confirmed that based on the contract signed with Infraloks Development Limited (IDL), it was the authority that was going to use the controversial Pegasus cyber surveillance equipment and not the NSCS as he had stated in his defence.
But the former NCA boss insisted that although the NCA was captured as the ‘end user’ of the equipment, NCA was signing the contract on behalf of the NSCS which he said is ‘a sister organization.’
The DPP put it to Mr. Tetteh-Tevie that the fact that the NCA has an NSCS representative on the NCA board does not make it a sister organization of the NSCS but the accused said “that cannot be true.”
Mrs. Atakora-Obuobisa also put it to the accused person that he caused financial loss to the state by directing that $4 million be paid to IDL without the approval of the NCA board … but Mr. Tetteh-Tevie denied the charge.
The DPP also challenged the accused person that he personally benefited from an amount of $150,000 out of this $4 million from the NCA money which was paid to IDL but he denied that as well.
Meanwhile, the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor, a Court of Appeal judge with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, ordered businessman George Dereck Oppong to get ready to open his defence on February 11.
This was after his lawyer then, Reindolf Twumasi, prayed the court that the accused had been billed for surgery outside the country and would need at least one month to recuperate before returning.
The judge said if on February 11 he is not ready to open his defence, then Dr. Nana Ensaw, the third accused person, would open his defence and Mr. Oppong would wait for his turn after which Alhaji Osman would follow.
The businessman has also severed his relationship with private legal practitioner Osafo Buabeng, who was his lawyer for over two and half years of the trial.