The NPP government’s first attempt at prosecuting alleged corrupt persons when it took office was when the Attorney General’s (AG) Department arraigned before court, persons allegedly involved in the $6million National Communications Authority (NCA) corruption case. This was in December 2017.
About a year before, media reports had indicated that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) was investigating a case at the NCA involving the purchase of a listening device to monitor suspected terrorists although there was no proof that the device was delivered. It was later revealed that the NCA officials indicted in this case had withdrawn an amount of $4 million from the accounts of the Authority and that could not be accounted for.
In November 2017, Corruption Watch Ghana followed up on the case and the AG’s Department indicated it was preparing a docket to be sent to court.
On Friday, December 22, 2017, the AG’s Department arraigned before court, five persons accused of their alleged involvement in the $6million NCA scandal.
The 1st accused person (A1), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, is a former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA); the 2nd accused person (A2), William Matthew Tetteh Tevie, is a former Director-General (DG) of NCA; the 3rd accused person (A3), Nana Owusu-Ensaw is a former Board member of NCA who served as chairman of the Finance Sub-Committee of the NCA Board; the 4th accused person (A4), Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman is a former Deputy National Security Coordinator and also a former Board member of NCA; the 5th accused person (A5), George Derek Oppong, is a Director of Infraloks Development Ltd (IDL) a company incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Ghana.
Tetteh Tevie, Baffoe-Bonnie, Alhaji Osman, and Oppong were charged for willfully causing financial loss to the State Contrary to section 23(1) and section 179(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29. The five persons were also charged with 16 other offenses.
28 months later, on 12th May 2020, an Accra High Court presided over by His Lordship, Eric Kyei Baffour, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court Judge, sentenced three of the accused persons to a total of 16 years for their roles in the ‘clandestine’ purchase of the supposed cybersecurity equipment worth over $4 million.
The 1st accused person (A1), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie was sentenced on various counts to several concurrent jail terms with the longest running for six years.
The 2nd accused person (A2), William Matthew Tetteh Tevie, also received concurrent sentences for various counts and will serve five years imprisonment. Similarly, the 4th accused person (A4), Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman coordinator will serve five years imprisonment after being sentenced to concurrent jail terms with the longest being five years.
According to Citi Newsroom’s report, William Tevie and Alhaji Osman were found guilty on the charges of conspiracy to willfully causing financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act and intentionally misapplying public property.
However, both men were acquitted and discharged on charges of stealing, conspiracy to steal and using public office for personal benefits.
Meanwhile, A5, George Derek Oppong, a businessman, was acquitted and discharged on all charges against him. Earlier, A3, Nana Owusu Ensaw had been acquitted and discharged by the court of appeal.
A breakdown of the sentences, as captured in His Lordship Eric Kyei Baffour’s 67-page judgement document indicates that: A1, A2 and A4 are sentenced to five years imprisonment each with hard labour on count one (1). On count two (2), each of the convict is sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour. Having benefited by the use of his public office for his personal profit coupled with his obstinate conduct not to return the ill-gotten wealth to the Republic, I sentence A1 to six (6) years imprisonment with hard labour on count five (5). On count ten I sentence each accused convict to three (3) years imprisonment with hard labour. Each convict is sentenced to another three years imprisonment with hard labour under count eleven. For having laundered US$200,000, I sentence A1 to six years imprisonment with hard labour on count twelve (12). And finally on count seventeen (17), each convict is sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour. All the sentences are to run concurrently.
His Lordship Eric Kyei Baffour concludes the delivery of his judgement, saying: “I further proceed to make a consequential order under section 6(1) (a) of SMCD 140 as I find it necessary to make an order for the seizure and forfeiture to the Republic of any asset of the convicted persons to the tune of US$3 Million with US$1 Million out of the US$4 Million having been recovered. The Attorney-General is to take steps to enforce this order of the court.”
Source: Frederick Asiamah