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5 Former government officers in court; charged with loss of $4 million

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A former Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr William Matthew Tetteh Tevie, and four others have been charged with various counts of wilfully causing financial loss of $4 million to the state.

Tevie, Eugene Baddoe-Bonnie, a former Board Chairman, Nana Owusu-Ensaw, Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman and George Derek Oppong have been accused of engaging in infractions in the procurement of listening devices for the state.

The five are facing four counts of conspiracy to wilfully cause financial loss to the state, wilfully causing financial loss to the state and conspiracy to steal.

The have been accused of acting jointly to misapply $4 million belonging to the state.

Charges

Oppong faces an additional count of dishonestly appropriating $3 million, while Tevie has been charged with an additional count of using public office to profit from $150,000.

Owusu-Ensaw faces an additional count of using public office to profit from $550,000, with Osman facing a count of using public office to profit from $70,000.

Oppong faces a charge of using public office to gain from $2 million while Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie and Osman have been charged with contravention of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 662).

Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie and Osman are facing an additional count of laundering $200,000.

Tevie faces an additional count of laundering $150,000 while Owusu Ensaw and Osman have been charged with one count each of laundering $550,000 and $70,000 respectively.

Oppong has also been charged with two counts of laundering $3million while Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie, Owusu-Ensaw and Osman have been charged with one count of intentionally misapplying $4 million.

Prosecution

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, read the facts related to the case.

Baffoe-Bonnie, Oppong and Osman pleaded not guilty to the charges. Tevie and Ensaw were absent in court.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour, granted each of the accused persons $1 million bail with three sureties.

The court directed them to surrender their pasports to the Registrar of the Court.

Lawyers for the accused persons are Mr Thaddeus Sory, Mr Samuel Codjoe, Mr Agbesi Dzakpasu, Mr Kwadwo Yankson and Mr Sarfo Buabeng.

They are to reappear on January 9, 2018.

Facts of the case

According to the facts of the case, Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie, Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator, were allegedly aided by a private citizen, Oppong , to engage in the act.

According to the state, the previous administration had contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply 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, was also charging $2 million to facilitiate the transaction, bring the total sum to $8 million.

The facts stated that the National Security did not have the money to fund the transaction and that reason, the NCA, which has supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.

It said an amount of $4 million was withdrawn from the accounts of the NCA and $1 million out of the withdrawn amount deposited 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. Osman is alleged to have fronted for the entire deal.

The accused persons later laundered the amount for their private benefit.

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