National Communications Authority

NCA Case: High court orders Accused persons to open defence, June 18

Commercial High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, has dismissed a stay of proceedings application by defence lawyers in the case of the Republic verses Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others who are standing trial on 17 counts of causing financial loss to the State and stealing.

The Court exercised it powers by abridging the time for hearing of all five applications today and went on to determine same.

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Lawyer of the accused persons took turns to make oral arguments in open Court articulating their reason why the Court ought to stay proceedings while their appeal in pending at the Court of Appeal.

At the last Court sitting on the 30th of May 2019, defence lawyers in the case indicated to the Court that they have filed notices of appeal some of which have been served on the State while others are yet to be served. The Court therefore adjourned sitting to today the 4th of June 2019, for all necessary processes to be observed by the parties.

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In the Court’s ruling today, the trial judge said not enough justification has been shown him of what damage the accused persons will suffer if they were to open their defence. He added that should he grant the stay of proceedings, it is likely to unnecessarily delay the trial process. He observed that this particular case has had several delays and appeals even up to the Supreme Court that hitherto has not yielded any success. “In the end all the applications fails”, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour said. The Court adjourned sitting to the 18th of June 2019 for the accused persons to open their defence.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s Court dismissed a “Submission of No Case” application by all five accused persons on the 23rd of May 2019 and subsequently ordered the accused persons to open their defence much to their displeasure.

In his 1hour, 40-minute ruling which necessitated the decision of the accused persons to head to the Court of Appeal, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s court had occasion to address the defence team on all 17 charges preferred against them by the State.

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The accused persons are Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie (1st), William Matthew Tetteh Tevie (2nd), Nana Owusu Ensaw (3rd), Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman (4th) and George Derek Oppong (5th). The 1st accused has 8 counts, 2nd accused has 8 counts, 3rd accused has 6 counts, 4th accused has 7 counts and 5th accused has 6 counts preferred against them.

The Court subsequently ruled that the first, second, fourth and fifth accused persons should all open their defence in respect of all charges brought against them. With regard to the third accused person, the Court acquitted him of four of six charges but orders that he opens his defence in the two other charges.

Background

The State closed its case against the accused persons on the 18th of April, 2019, following which, the accused persons chose to exercise their rights under Section 173 of Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act (Act 30) to file “Submissions of No Case”.

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In all, the State called six (6) prosecution witnesses in her bid to establish a case against the accused persons. The prosecution witnesses were, Director of Legal Administration at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Abena Awarkoa Asafo Adjei; Dr. Isaac Yaw Ani, Deputy Director General in charge of Management and Operations at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Henry Kanor, Deputy Director General in charge of Technical Operations at the National Communications Authority (NCA); Colonel Michael Kwadwo Poku, Director of Operations at the National Security; Deputy National Security Coordinator, Duncan Opare, and Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah, Investigator of the case.

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