The Accra High Court has sentenced three former government officials to various terms in prison after convicting them of willfully causing financial loss of $4m to the state.
Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, a former board chairman of the National Communication Authority (NCA) will serve six years imprisonment for his part in the $4m NCA scandal.
William Matthew Tetteh Tevie, a former Director-General of the NCA and Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator were each sentenced to five years imprisonment for also causing financial loss to the state in the scandal, reports Graphic Online’s Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson who was in the High Court Tuesday afternoon. [May 12, 2020].
Baffoe-Bonnie received more years because the court held that he personally benefited from the deal to a tune of $200,000, Ebo Hawkson reported.
The court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, also ordered the State to seize assets of the convicts to the tune of $3 million since the state has only recovered $1 million of the amount.
The three were found guilty of indulging in acts that led the State to lose the amount in a deal purchase of a cyber security surveillance equipment, known as the Pegasus machine, for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), which was sponsored by the NCA.
A businessman – George Derek Oppong, whose company acted as local agent for the company said to have supplied the equipment was however, acquitted and discharged by the court.
The court held that the prosecution could not prove its case against the businessman and also that whatever infractions that occurred during the deal were occasioned by the acts of Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie and Osman.
According to the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, the prosecution proved the guilt of the three persons beyond reasonable doubt.
The said alleged scandal is said to have happened in 2016.
Per the facts of the case, Baffoe-Bonnie, Tevie and Osman 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, also charged $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million.
The facts stated that the National Security did not have the money to fund the transaction, and for that reason the NCA, which has supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.
It said $4 million was withdrawn from the accounts of the NCA and $1 million out of the withdrawn amount deposited into the account of the Israeli company.
According to the State, the remaining $3 million was lodged in the account of Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd.
Osman is alleged to have fronted for the entire deal.
The State said the accused persons later laundered the amount for their private benefit.