Three former appointees of the National Communications Authority (NCA) were yesterday sentenced to 16 years in prison in hard labour by an Accra high court for causing $4 million financial loss to the state.
They are Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, a former board chairman of the NCA; Mr William Tetteh-Tevie, the immediate past Director General of the Authority and Alhaji Osman Limuna, a board member of NCA, and a former Deputy National Security Coordinator.
The court asked the Attorney-General to seize the property of the convicts worth $3 million.
Mr Baffoe-Bonnie was sentenced to six years in prison, while Tetteh-Tevie and Limuna were handed five years each.
The court found Tetteh-Tevie and Baffoe-Bonnie guilty on contravention of public procurement and intentionally misapplying public property.
They were all not found guilty on money laundering and were accordingly acquitted and discharged on that count.
A private businessman, Derrick Oppong, whose company was allegedly used for the purchase of the pergasus equipment was acquitted and discharged of all the charges made against him.
Passing sentence, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, said the prosecution proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
He said although the convicts were first time offenders, they failed as people in position of trust.
“These are experienced men, who have abused their position of trust. If they fail to be good custodians of the state, they will not be let off the hook,” Justice Baffour, stated.
The convicts, together with two others were slapped with seventeen counts including willfully causing financial loss to the state, stealing, conspiracy to commit crime and money laundering.
It is recalled that the Court of Appeal acquitted and discharged Dr Nana Ensaw, the chairman of Finance Committee at NCA, who was earlier discharged of conspiracy to commit crime but asked to open his defence on stealing.
The facts according to the prosecution are that the previous administration contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply listening equipment at a cost of $6 million to enable the authorities to monitor conversations of persons suspected to be engaged in cybercrime and terror activities.
A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, charged $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million.
The facts said National Security did not have the money to fund the transaction, and for that reason the NCA, which had supervisory jurisdiction over the use of such equipment, was asked to fund the project.
It added that $4 million was withdrawn from the account of the NCA, while $1 million out of the withdrawn amount was deposited into the account of the Israeli company.
According to prosecution, the remaining $3 million was lodged in the account of Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Agency.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA