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NCA Gang Fate Hangs

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The Supreme Court has set June 7 to deliver its ruling in the application for disclosure filed by lawyers in the trial of Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority, (NCA) and four others for causing financial loss to the State.

The court set the date yesterday April 24, after both the Attorney General and the respective lawyers had filed their statement of case as directed by the court.

The seven-member panel of justices, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, on March 21, this year ordered the parties to file their statement of case within 14 days.

In the view of the court. the Attorney-General having been served with the statement of case also has two weeks to file its response.

Hearing

At the hearing, Godfred Yeboah Dame, the deputy Attorney General said the State prosecutor has received the statement of case from lawyers of the various accused persons.

He said the AG has also filed its response to the statement of case.

The lawyers of the accused persons however said they would rely on their statement of case as filed.

Baffoe Bonnie and four others are before an Accra High Court over an alleged $4m financial loss to the state.

They are William Tevie, former Chief Executive Officer, NCA; Nana Owusu Ensaw; Alhaji Salif Mimina Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator and George Derrek Oppong, a private businessman, and Director of IDL facing 17 charges such as conspiracy to steal, stealing, using public office for profit, money laundering, among others.

Charges

According to the prosecution, the accused persons are being tried for allegedly causing financial loss to the State to the tune of $4 million under the guise of procuring a Cyber Surveillance System which they claimed were to be used for anti-terrorism activities in the country.

The five in January this year filled at motion at the high court and succeeded in staying proceedings in the case.

The lawyers for the accused persons want the matter refereed to the Supreme Court for interpretation following a motion filed by the lawyers seeking an order of the court compelling the Attorney-General to disclose to them all documents they intend to rely on in the trial.

The Defense lawyers were also seeking to compel the Attorney Generals Department to disclose to them all documents the prosecution intends to rely on throughout the trial as well as a comprehensive list of all prosecution witnesses.

Stay

The court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, in a ruling 8on February 1, 2018 held that it had no authority to interpret the portions of the 1992 constitution which had arisen in the trial.

In the view of the court the interpretation of the constitution was within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Justice Kyei Baffour contended that rival interpretations have been placed on the meaning and the extent of pre-trial disclosures.

The commercial court judge said the prosecution itself admits that a question of interpretation arises in respect of article 19(2)(e) in relation to whether prosecution must furnish them with police witness statements, summary of evidence and documents to be relied on by prosecution.

The court however wants the apex court to answer whether on a true and proper interpretation and/or construction of article 19(2)(e)(g) an accused person in a summary trial conducted in accordance with Part III of the Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act, Act 30, was entitled to comprehensive pre-trial disclosures as the accused persons have argued.

Justice Kyei Baffour also wants the Court to show at what point prosecution should make the disclosures available to the accused person in view of the fact that summary trial may commence within 48 hours upon arrest and charges being proffered against the accused whether an accused in a summary trial was entitled to full disclosure of documents in the possession of prosecution that would not even be tendered by the prosecution as exhibits before a trial court.

By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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