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The Director of Legal Administration at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Abena Awarkoa Asafo Adjei, today told the Commercial Court hearing the case of The Republic v. Eugene Baffoe Bonnie and four others that she was never privy to contract documents covering the Procurement agreement between the NCA and Infralocks Development Limited (IDL) .
Mrs. Asafo Adjei made the disclosure when she was called as the first prosecution witness of the State in the trial of the five accused persons charges with willfully causing financial loss to the State.
The Accused persons in the case are the former Board Chairman of the NCA, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former Director General of the NCA, William Matthew Tetteh Tevie, the, Nana Owusu Ensaw and Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman,both former members of the Governing Board of the NCA and a private businessman, George Derek Oppong.
Before the Commencement of Trial
The court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour after recording the presence of all five accused persons and the legal representation for both the State and the defence team ordered that the trial will be carried out in accordance with Section 171 of the Criminal and other offenses (Procedure) Act (Act 30) which is the section for regulating Summary trials.
Lawyer for third accused person Samuel Coudjoe raised an objection to the effect that the Attorney General’s Department failed to furnish the defence team with all documents as ordered by the court. Lawyers for all remaining four Accused persons associated with the application and demanded an adjournment for the State to compile with the previous order of the court before the trial starts.
The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, pointed out that the application by lawyer for the second accused person at the last court sitting for the AG’s department to supply them with all documents was a kind gesture and not necessarily grounded in law.
In a short ruling, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s court over ruled the objection stating that the AG had made all documents available at the registry of the court and that it was the duty of the defence Lawyers to apply for them.
First Prosecution Witness
The State called it’s first prosecution witness, Abena Asafo Adjei, the Director of Legal Administration at the National Communications Authority (NCA). She has been in the employ of the NCA since 2003. The Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Atakorah Obuabisa led the witness to give her evidence in chief before the court. She indicated that with the exception of the fifth Accused person, all the accused persons are known to her.
Mrs. Asafo Adjei told the court that the 1st Accused is the former board chairman of the NCA, 2nd accused person is the former Director General of the NCA. 3rd and 4th Accused persons she said were members of the Governing Board of the NCA.
IDL and NCA contract document according to the first prosecution witness who is the Custodian of all contracts of the NCA as Director of Legal Administration, indicated that she has never seen nor worked on the said contract ever in the cause of her work. She also indicated that she only saw the document when the investigator in the case before the court brought it to her attention for identification. The document after it was considered by the court and the defence team was admitted into evidence and marked as IDA.
2015 Procurement Plan and Budget of NCA
Defense Lawyers in the case raised an objection to the tendering of the 2015 Procurement Plan and the 2015 Budget of the National Communications Authority as an exhibit. Their case is that the first prosecution witness is unable to speak to the two documents because she is not the author and that they cannot be said to be certified true copies of said documents.
The Director of Public Prosecution Yvonne Atakorah Obuabisa indicated to the court that the first prosecution witness is the authorized person seized with the power to hold all documents of the NCA. She also told the court that the two documents are certified true copies. To that end, the two documents are lawfully in her custody and that the court ought to admit same as evidence before the court.
The court however ruled that the arguments of the defense team are unfounded. The admission of the documents cannot in anyway prejudice or embarrass the accused persons. The documents are relevant under section 51 of the evidence act. The 2015 Procurement plan is this admitted and marked as Exhibit A and the 2015 budget marked exhibit B.
Request for Adjournment
After four hours of court sitting and right about 1:20pm, two defense Lawyers requested of the court to adjourn sitting on health grounds. The judge who had wanted to continue hearing till 2pm accepted the plea of the Attorney General in support of the prayer of the two defense lawyer. The court subsequently adjourned hearing to Thursday 18th of January 2018 for continuation.
Source: Wilberforce Asare || StarrFMonline.com