$4m NCA Trial: Gang Of 5 ‘Trap’ Judge
Lawyers in the case brought against Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, the former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority, (NCA) and four others are seeking to stay proceedings in the trial.
The lawyers 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 motion scuttled the business of the day which was for the state to call a second prosecution witness in the hearing.
The state has dragged 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 before the court facing 17 charges such as conspiracy to steal, stealing, using public office for profit, money laundering, among others.
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.
In moving the motion yesterday, Godwin Tamakloe, lawyer for Alhaji Osman stated that his client want the prosecution to furnish them with the documents they wish to rely on in the trial indicating that his request was based on Article 19 (2)(e) of the 1992 Constitution.
He said the prosecution must make the documents available to the defense at least three days before attempting to tender same in the trial.
Tamakloo also want the court to order the A-G to furnish the applicants copies of the list of witnesses and summary of their evidence before the witnesses are called in the dock.
The lawyer also request that the court declare that any document or material evidence the respondents attempt to tender without giving it to the accused person ought to be declared inadmissible.
He argued that Alhaji Osman must be given all documents he required in the trial insisting that the accused person must be afforded all the facilities for the purpose of his defense.
He wondered: “how can a man prepare his defense when he is kept in the dark? How can a man prepare his defense when he is blind folded?”
The lawyer was emphatic that the application before the court was one seeking an interpretation of the said Articles of the constitution which required that the judge stays proceedings for the Supreme Court to decide on the matter.
Osafo Boabeng lawyer for Derek Oppong who also moved a similar motion said he associates himself with the arguments of Tamakloe.
Thaddeus Sory, lawyer for Baffoe-Bonnie and Samuel Cudjoe, lawyer for Owusu Ensaw served notice to file their respective affidavits in respect of the matter.
Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, a Senior State Attorney opposing the application said the issues raised by the lawyers have already been dealt with by the court.
She explained that since the case was a summary trial, the prosecution could only provide lawyers with documents as and when “we have them.”
The Senior State Attorney contended that majority of the documents had already been given to the defense even before the witness was called in the trial.
She noted that no issue has arisen from the trial which required that the case is referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
“Article 19 (2) is very clear, it does not place any obligation on the prosecution to provide the accused person with any document” Mrs. Keelson said.
She warned that if care is not taken there would be an infringement on Article 19 (2) adding “the court should not be in a hurry to refer the matter to the Supreme Court”.
The court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour has however adjourned the matter to February 1, 2018 for ruling.
By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson/ thePublisher