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Ex-NCA Board Members To Open Defense   
 
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24-May-2019  
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Tetteh-Tevie and Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie
 
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The immediate Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others, who are standing trial for willfully causing financial loss to the state, have been ordered to open their defence by an Accra High Court.

This follows the dismissal of applications of no case filed by the accused persons after the prosecution closed its case.

They contended that the prosecution failed to establish a case beyond reasonable doubt against them and therefore prayed the court to discharge them.

But the court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, dismissed their applications, saying they have a case to answer.

The prosecution, led by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, opposed the applications of the accused persons, praying the court to order them to open their defence.

The court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, in its ruling, held that there is difference between a prima facie case and the burden on the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

According to him, although prima facie is the establishment of case against an accused by the prosecution, it’s only when the accused opens defence to rebut the evidence adduced by the prosecution that proof beyond reasonable doubt can be established.

He said a court cannot determine proof beyond reasonable doubt by just listening to evidence adduced by the prosecution.

Main Ruling

The trial judge, in his ruling, held that the prosecution was able to establish a prima facie case against all the accused persons and it was up to them to rebut the claims.

On the counts of conspiracy to commit crime and willfully causing financial loss to the state, the court held that four of the accused persons, Mr Baffoe-Bonnie, Tetteh-Tevie, Alhaji Osman and Mr. Oppong, have a case to answer.

The court held that the prosecution was able to establish a case against Baffoe-Bonnie, Tetteh-Tevie and Alhaji Osman on the charge of conspiracy to steal and stealing while Mr. Oppong is to open his defence on a charge of stealing.

Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie and Mr. Tetteh-Tevie are also to open their defence on the charge of contravention of the Public Procurement Act, while all the accused persons are to open defence on the count of money laundering.

Out of the 17 charges, Nana Ensaw is to open his defence on two – conspiracy to steal and money laundering.

Trial

Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie, together with other ex-board members, including William Mathew Tetteh Tevie, a former Director General of the NCA; Nana Owusu Ensaw; Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, a former National Security Coordinator, as well as private businessman George Derek Oppong, Director of Infraloks Development Limited, have been accused of conspiracy and causing financial loss to the state.

The five accused persons are also facing 16 other charges, including conspiracy to steal, stealing, using public office for profit, money laundering, among others.

Prosecution’s Case

The prosecution closed its case before an Accra High Court on April 18, 2019, after calling six witnesses.

The witnesses included Abena Asarfo Adjei, Director of Legal Affairs at NCA; Dr. Isaac Yaw Ani, Deputy Director General in-charge of management and Operations; Colonel Michael Kwadwo Poku, Director of Operations at National Security Secretariat; Duncan Opare, Deputy National Security Coordinator and Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah, the investigator of the case.

No Case

Immediately the prosecution closed its case, the defence lawyers informed the court that they would exercise their rights per Section 173 of Act 30 to file a submission of no case.

The accused would open their defence on May 30, 2019, when hearing resumes.
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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