General News of Friday, 22 December 2017
The immediate past Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr William Tevie was Friday brought before court and charged with causing financial loss to the state.
A former Board Chairman of the NCA, Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, another Board Member, Nana Owusu-Ensaw, a former deputy National Security Coordinator, Alhaji Salifu Osman and a private businessman, George Oppong are also standing trial in respect of the case.
Three of the five accused persons were in court Friday.
The case was adjourned to Tuesday, January 9, 2017.
The five are facing a charge of conspiracy to willfully cause financial loss to the state in the case in which millions of dollars were spent on procuring listening devices for the state.
Information Minister, Mustapha Abdul Hamid first broke the story on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show a few months ago about investigations being conducted by the BNI into shady transactions at the NCA.
According to him, the previous 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. A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, was also charging $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million.
Mr. Hamid said 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 minister, the remaining $3 million was lodged in the accounts of George Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd. The entire deal was fronted by Alhaji Osman, the Minister claimed.
Soon after the National Democratic Congress lost the elections, the Israeli company approached the current administration for payment of the remaining $5 million owed it by the state. The state was compelled to investigate the transaction since there was no proof that the equipment was delivered.
Mustapha Hamid said further investigations by BNI “led to the retrieval of some equipment from a private residence purported to be listening equipment”.
“They took Four Million Dollars from NCA accounts and paid One Milion [Dollars] to the Israeli company and then deposited Three Million in the accounts of the local agent, one Mr George Oppong and proceeded to share the three million dollars among themselves.”
The Information Minister gave a breakdown of how the remaining $3 million was allegedly dissipated: “Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie took $200,000; George Oppong took $100,000; William Tevie got $150,000, Alhaji Osman received $70,000,” with one other person receiving $500,000.
Mr William Tevie and Nana Owusu-Ensaw, however, denied the allegations.
All five persons named are now in court facing charges of conspiracy to cause financial loss to the state.
They all pleaded not guilty. Three of the accused who were in court were granted bail by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour on the sum of one million dollars each, with three sureties. They were also to surrender their passports to the Court Registrar.