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General News Wed, 27 Nov 2019

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NCA case: Appeal Court refuses application by 1st accused to stay proceedings at High Court

A three member Court of Appeal panel presided over by Justice Ackah Yensu, together with Justice Getrude Torkonoo and Justice Ama Gaise, have refused an application for Stay of Proceedings at the High Court pending an application by the first accused person, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, challenging Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s ruling on his submission of no case application.

Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others have been charged by the State for the misappropriation of 4 million dollars belonging to the National Communications Authority (NCA). The accused persons have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are currently standing trial at the Commercial High Court.

The Defence Team

In his submissions before the Court of Appeal, lawyer for the first accused, Baffour Ashia, indicated that the record of appeal is ready to be transmitted to the Court of Appeal for same to be heard. He further argued that the Court of Appeal should grant their application for Stay of Proceedings at the High Court because “in the very likely event that our appeal susceeds, applicants would have been made to lead evidence at the High Court on charges that the Prosecution has failed to establish” .

The State

The Attorney General’s Department represented by Senior State Attorney Richard Gyambibi, told the Court that the State is opposed to the instant application. He argued that the application is simply an abuse of the court process in that the other four accused persons have had occasion to appeal the High Court’s ruling on their submission of no case and same has been refused. There are no exceptional circumstances to the application by the first accused as compared to that of the other four accused persons who have been charged together for conspiracy.

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal panel in their ruling noted that there has been several applications for Stay of Proceedings in this matter of the Republic verses Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others. The Court further observed that there is no special or exceptional circumstances as far as the application by the first accused person is concerned.

“We are unable to find any such special circumstances with such an exceptional nature to sway us to exercise our discretion to stay proceedings at the High Court. In the circumstances, the application is refused” the Court of Appeal ruled.

With the latest application for Stay of Proceedings out of the way, the accused persons in the “NCA case” are expected to returned to the High Court on the 10th of December 2019, to continue with their defence which has been held up due to the multiple applications they have filed at the Court of Appeal.

Background

The State closed its case against the accused persons on the 18th of April 2019, following which, the accused persons chose to exercise their rights under section 173 of Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act (Act 30) to file “Submissions of No Case”. In all, the State called six (6) prosecution witnesses in her bit to establish its case against the accused persons.

The prosecution witnesses were, Director of Legal Administration at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Abena Awarkoa Asafo Adjei, Dr. Isaac Yaw Ani, Deputy Director General in charge of Management and Operations at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Henry Kanor, Deputy Director General in charge of Technical Operations at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Colonel Michael Kwadwo Poku, Director of Operations at the National Security, Deputy National Security Coordinator, Duncan Opare, and Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah, Investigator of the case.

According to the facts of the case, as presented by the A-G, Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie, Ensaw and Osman were allegedly aided by Oppong to engage in the criminal act. It said the previous administration had contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply a listening equipment at a cost of $6 million to enable the authorities to monitor conversations of persons suspected to be engaged in terror activities. A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, charged $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million. The facts explained that the National Security did not have the money to fund the transaction and for that reason the NCA, which had supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.

It said $4 million was withdrawn from the NCA’s account, while $1 million out of the withdrawn amount was deposited into the account of the Israeli company. The A-G explained that the remaining $3 million was lodged in the account of Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd.

Source: Starr FM

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