A mini trial in the $4 million National Communications Authority (NCA) case is being heard in camera following a demand from the prosecution to that effect.
The mini trial is being held to ascertain the admissibility or otherwise of the statement from a former Board Chairman of the NCA, Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, as evidence.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisa, prayed the court to hear the testimony of the witnesses in camera.
The court, presided over by Mr Eric Kyei-Baffour, obliged and accordingly granted the state’s prayer.
Mr Thaddeus Sory, counsel for Baffoe-Bonnie, on March 5, 2019, rejected the admissibility of the police caution and charged statements given by his client, which indicated that his client and the rest of the accused persons benefitted financially from the purchase of the cyber security equipment.
Mr Sory held that Baffoe-Bonnie gave those statements without the presence of a lawyer, while the police failed to advise him on his right to a lawyer of his choice.
According to Mr Sory, his client gave the statements under duress after he was threatened.
Counsel further submitted that his client did not give the statements in the presence of an independent witness.
The DPP denied that Baffoe-Bonnie was threatened when he gave his statements.
Indeed, she stated that the accused person had confirmed in his statements that he was advised on his right to counsel of his choice.
The investigator in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Nkrumah, was in the dock and was about to tender the police caution statement and other statements of Baffoe-Bonnie when Mr Sory raised the objection.
The objection from Sory has necessitated the mini trial.
Mr Baffoe-Bonnie is standing trial with William Tetteh Tevie, a former Director-General of the NCA; Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member; Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator, and a businessman, George Derek Oppong.
They are standing trial for their alleged involvement in the embezzlement of $4 million of state funds during the purchase of listening devices for the National Security, which was sponsored by the NCA.
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 other charges.
They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges and are currently on bail in the sum of $1 million each.