Judge defends Daily Guide headline in $4m NCA trial

A High Court judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, Thursday rose to the defence of the Daily Guide newspaper after the paper was accused of misreporting in the case in which former top officials of the National Communications Authority (NCA) are standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.

Kojo Yankson who is the lawyer for former Deputy National Security Coordinator Alhaji Salifu Mimina found issues with the content of a Daily Guide story headlined, “There was no board approval in NCA deal-lawyer insists.”

According to the legal counsel, NCA Director of Legal Services Mrs Abena Asafu-Adjei who was the state’s first witness should not be referred to as a lawyer. He said, she testified as a witness, not as a lawyer.

But High Court judge Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour disagreed and saw no problem with the reference to the witness as a lawyer. He asked the lawyer to move on with his case when sitting resumed Thursday.

Mrs Abena Asafu-Adjei had testified in court stating that a multi-million dollar contract between NCA and a logistics company Infraloks Development Limited (IDL) did not have the approval of the Board.

The contract to procure surveillance equipment for National Security is therefore illegal, the state has said. But the accused paid IDL $1m and shared three million dollars among five accused persons.

Kojo Yankson was again on his feet complaining about how the title of his colleague lawyer who is a retired Naval Captain, Baffour Asase Gymiah, was captured by the newspaper.

The lawyer said the paper referred to the retired Captain as a retired Lieutenant Colonel. He said the defence lawyer never gave out his title since proceedings began last two weeks and wanted the judge to take note of the misreporting.

The judge ignored his complaint entirely.

The five accused persons standing trial are former Director General of the NCA William Tetteh Tevie, a former member of the NCA board Nana Owusu-Ensaw, former Board Chairman Mr Baffoe-Bonnie, former Dep. National Security coordinator Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman and a businessman Derek Oppong.

They have all pleaded not guilty to 17 counts of causing financial loss to the state contrary to section 23(1) and section 179(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29.

The charges also include conspiracy to steal, stealing, using public office for private gain, in contravention of the Public Procurement Act, money laundering and intentionally misapplying public property,
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com
Date: 25-01-2018 Time: 01:01:11:pm
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