Friday, 23 February 2018

Former D-G of NCA did not follow due process – Witness

Mrs Abena Asafo-Adjei, the director, Legal and Administration, National Communication Authority (NCA), said the former Director-General (D-G) of the authority, although he had the mandate to execute contracts for NCA, did not follow due process.

Answering questions under cross-examination administered by Mr Reindolph Twumasi, a lawyer for George Derrick Oppong, one of the accused persons standing trial in the NCA’s $4 million cyber security surveillance case before an Accra High Court, Mrs Asafo-Adjei said she was only testifying about what she knew.
Mr Twumasi was holding brief for Mr Osafo Buabeng, the substantive attorney for Oppong.
Oppong, a director of Infralock Development Limited (IDL), is standing trial with four others; namely, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman; William Tetteh Tevie, a former Director-General; Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member; and Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, former Deputy National Security Co-ordinator.
They are being held over alleged malfeasance into the purchase of a cyber surveillance equipment.
The accused have been variously charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the state, conspiracy to steal and stealing, using public office for private gain, in contravention of the Public Procurement Act, money laundering, and intentionally misapplying public property.
The five have all pleaded not guilty and are on a bail of $1 million each, as well as three sureties each.
Mrs Asafo-Adjei admitted that the NCA had been executing contracts with various parties, adding that those contracts were all subject to the approval of the authority’s board.
According to her, it was also prudent that any person entering into contract with the NCA gets to know whether the officer who entered into the said contract had the mandate to do so.
The first prosecution witness further told the court, after Mr Osafo Buabeng took over the cross-examination later, that normally contracts with the NCA are witnessed by some officials of the NCA after the board had approved same.
Additionally, Mrs Asafo-Adjei said soon after contracts were executed by the NCA with other parties, copies of those contracts were made available to the authority’s legal department.
When Mrs Asafo-Adjei was asked if NCA had an account with ECOBANK, she said she would not be able to tell.
According to her, she was not aware that the NCA had passed a resolution for the opening of any account.
The witness denied that issues pertaining to cyber security surveillance were part of the NCA mandate.
She disagreed with Counsel Buabeng that the NCA’s budget was subject to amendment, and added that supplementary budgets were prepared if the need arose.
Answering questions from Mr Asaase Gyimah, lead counsel for Osman, the witness said she only heard about the cyber security surveillance equipment in contract documents showed to her by the case investigator.
Counsels for the accused completed their cross-examination of Mrs Asafo-Adjei, who explained that on the NCA and IDL contract, the National Communication Authority had been branded as National Communication Agency.
The court then discharged the witness for the prosecution to call its next witness.
Sometime in 2015, the accused persons, without authorisation, took a decision to purchase a cyber surveillance system, which they claimed was to be used for anti-terrorism operations.
The system, which was to be used in the fight against terrorism, reportedly has some of its components missing, hence it cannot be utilised.
On December 22, last year, three persons, including Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former NCA Board Chairman, and two others, were hauled before court over the alleged fraudulent purchase of Cyber Security Surveillance systems at a value of $8 million.
Prosecution is expected to call its second witness when hearing continues tomorrow.

 

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