An Accra High Court has directed three former top officials of the National Communications Authority (NCA), a former deputy National Security Coordinator and a businessman, to open their defense in a corruption case brought against them by the state.
The presiding judge, Eric Baffour, gave the directive after establishing that there is enough basis for the prosecution of the five.
Former Board Chair of the NCA, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie; former Director-General, William Tetteh Tevie; a former Board member, Nana Owusu Ensaw; former Deputy National Security Coordinator, Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman and businessman, George Derek Oppong, are facing 17 counts of causing financial loss to the state.
According to the ruling, enough basis has been established against four of the accused persons on all 17 charges, to which they should open their defense.
However, Nana Owusu Ensaw has to defend himself against only two of the accusations; “stealing related charge in count three and the offense of money laundering under count 14.”
The five persons are facing trial for allegedly embezzling state funds worth $4million in the purchase of cyber-security apparatus for the National Security.
Facts of the case
According to the State, the erstwhile John Mahama administration had contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply listening equipment at the cost of $6 million, to enable the authorities to monitor conversations of persons suspected to be engaged in terror activities.
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A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, was also charging $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million.
The State says the National Security didn't have the money to fund the transaction, therefore, the NCA which has supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.
The officials withdrew $4 million from the accounts of the NCA and paid $1 million into the accounts of the Israeli company.
According to the State, the remaining $3 million was lodged in the accounts of George Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd.
According to immediate-past Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, the entire deal was fronted by Alhaji Osman.
Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to May, 30.