Court of Appeal to rule on $4 million NCA case

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Mr William Matthew Tetteh-Tevie  — Former Director-General of the National Communications Authority
Mr William Matthew Tetteh-Tevie — Former Director-General of the National Communications Authority

The Court of Appeal has become the new legal battleground between the Attorney-General (A-G) and the five persons standing trial over the $40-million National Communications Authority (NCA) case.

The case involves the alleged misappropriation of state funds in the purchase of listening devices for the National Security which was sponsored by the NCA.

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One of the accused persons, William Matthew Tetteh-Tevie, a former Director-General of the NCA, wants the Court of Appeal to suspend the trial at the High Court until the final determination of his appeal challenging the trial court’s admission of a prosecution document into evidence.

But a Chief State Attorney, Mrs Evelyn Keelson, has vehemently opposed the move by Tetteh-Tevie and his legal team, describing it as an attempt to unduly delay the trial.

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, presided over by Justice P.K. Gyaesayor, will, on December 4, 2018, rule on whether or not to stay proceedings of the trial until the final determination of the appeal.


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The other justices on the panel are Lovelace Johnson and Tanko Amadu.

Tendering of evidence 

Per court documents, on October 30, 2018 the third prosecution witness, who works at the National Security Council, testified in camera at the trial about the existence of a certain letter in the books of the National Security.

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The proof of the existence of the letter, the witness said, was in the Letter of Dispatch Book for the period January 7, 2016 to April 4, 2016.

The prosecution decided to tender the page in the dispatch book which made reference to the letter in evidence.

But defence counsel objected and argued that the whole book must be tendered in evidence because other pages in the book could absolve their clients of any wrongdoing.

The trial judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, however, overruled the objection and directed defence counsel to cross-examine the witness.

Not happy with the decision, Tetteh-Tevie’s legal team filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

In view of the appeal, the legal team further filed an application for stay of proceedings at the High Court, but Justice Baffour dismissed the application.

As a result, Tetteh-Tevie’s lawyers filed for stay of proceedings of the trial at the Court of Appeal.

Arguments

Making his case yesterday, counsel for Tetteh-Tevie, Mr Godwin Tameklo, argued that it was essential for the court to suspend the trial because the appeal could have an impact on the final outcome of the trial.

Such a move, he said, would prevent a mis-trial or any miscarriage of justice.

“Staying proceedings will ensure that we do not have a situation where we may have to reopen the entire cross-examination,’’ counsel said.

In her response, Mrs Keelson said halting the trial could open the floodgates for more stay of proceedings whenever the accused raised an objection, a situation that would delay the case.

“Justice is not just for the accused persons; justice is also for the Republic; justice is to be done and not delayed, delayed justice is not justice, she said.

Trial

Apart from Tetteh-Tevie, the other accused persons are Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, a former Board Chair of the NCA; Nana Owusu Ensaw and Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman; both former board members, and a businessman, George Derek Oppong.

The accused persons have been charged with diverse counts of wilfully causing financial loss of $4 million to the state, stealing, conspiracy, money laundering, among others

They have denied the charges and are currently on bail in the sum of $1 million each.

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