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'I had no specific approval limit' - Former NCA boss

William Tetteh Tevie, former Director-General, National Communication Authority (NCA) on Thursday said as a former boss of the Authority he did not have any specific approval limit in terms of expenditure as part of his mandate.

Tevie told an Accra High Court that once the NCA board approves and gives the green light to a particular project or transaction, he also gives his approval for execution.

He, however, said he did not have the documents relating to the approvals with him.

Tevie was answering questions under cross-examination by Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution, (DDP) in his trial at the High Court.

The former NCA Director-General said for the Authority to execute bigger projects, he needed explicit approval from its Board. ”But for spending on fuel, stationery, medical bills and other miscellaneous, I could approve them after they have been subjected to scrutiny”.

Earlier on, defence counsel of the rest of the accused administered various questions to the former NCA Director-General as he sat in the witness box to mount his defence in the trial.

The former NCA Director-General and four others are facing charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the state in the purchase of a cyber-security machine valued at the cost of $4million.

Tevie and the other accused persons have denied the various charges and are on bail.

Answering questions from the defence counsel, Tevie admitted that the purchase of the Pergasus equipment was not shrouded in secrecy and that officials of the Ministry of Communication, the NCA, the Judiciary, the office of the Attorney General and the representatives from the National Security were made aware of the purchase of the cybersecurity equipment.

According to him, the awareness of the purchase of the machine was evident in the various correspondence from the NCA to then Attorney-General and the DPP who was then the acting DPP.

“All the state agencies had prior knowledge of the decisions and deliberations to purchase of the cybersecurity equipment,” he said.

Tevie told the court that there were laid down procedures for payments at NCA.

He explained that, the NCA Director of Finance makes sure that those laid down procedures were followed adding that in his case, he also verified before signing.

On NCA’s bank transaction, Tevie told the court that there were clear mandates as to which individual could sign cheques.

According to him if those laid down procedures were not followed, the bank would reject the said transaction.

He said the purchase of the cybersecurity machine was discussed and deliberated on by the NCA and National Security Secretariat adding that the decision to purchase the machine was a collective one.

The former NCA Director-General stated that the decisions and deliberations to acquire the cybersecurity machine started in 2015 and same continued until the year 2016.

Tevie rejected claims by the prosecution that he and other accused persons contravened the Public Procurement Act and deliberately caused financial loss to the state by purchase the four million dollar cybersecurity equipment.

Tevie is standing trial with Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, former Board Chairman; Nana Owusu Ensaw, NCA board member; Alhaji Salifu Mimina, former Deputy National Security Coordinator; and George Derrick Oppong, a Director of Infralock Development Limited.

The accused have been variously charged with stealing, using public office for personal gain, wilfully causing financial loss to the state in respect of the purchase of a cyber-security equipment worth four million dollars.

They have all denied the charges and are currently on bail.

The matter has been adjourned to February 4 by the court presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.

Source: ghananewsagency.org

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