William Tevie and Eugene Baffoe Bonnie
The case involving four former board members of National Communications Authority (NCA) and a businessman has once again been sent to the Supreme Court.
Lawyer for Dr. Nana Owusu Ensaw has filed an application for certiorari praying the apex court to quash the decision of the trial judge who ordered his client to open his defence.
This was after the judge found that the prosecution had been able to establish a prima facie case against him and the others.
This is the third time the case has been sent to the Supreme Court challenging the decision of Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor, the presiding judge.
Some former NCA board members — Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, William Tetteh-Tevie, Dr. Nana Owusu Ensaw, Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman and businessman George Dereck Oppong — are before an Accra High Court charged with causing financial loss to the state, among other charges, in the purchase of Pegasus equipment.
The accused persons are facing a total of 17 charges including money laundering.
The prosecution led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora- Obuobisa, closed its case on April 18, 2019 after calling six witnesses to prove its case.
The accused persons opted not to open their defence but rather filed a submission of no case to answer, saying the prosecution had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant the accused persons opening their defences.
The presiding judge, in his ruling, dismissed the applications and ordered the accused persons to open their defence on May 30, 2019.
The five then filed numerous appeals challenging the decision of the court to dismiss their submission of no case.
They also filed for a stay of proceeding pending the determination of the appeal but all the applications were dismissed.
They then went to the Court of Appeal seeking an order to stay the trial but those applications were equally dismissed and they were ordered to return to the trial court to open the defence.
Lawyer for Baffoe-Bonnie then filed a fresh application praying the court to stay its proceedings pending an appeal of its ruling saying their earlier application was in respect of the admission of his client’s ‘confession statement’.
The application was also dismissed and Justice Kyei Baffour expressly told the lawyers to stop “prostituting with legal processes” by filing the “numerous frivolous and vexatious” applications.
The latest application at the Supreme Court is seeking an order for certiorari to quash the decision of the trial court to call on Dr. Nana Ensaw to open his defence on two charges of conspiracy to steal and money laundering.
The lawyer, Johnson Normesinu, subsequently prayed the court to stay its proceedings pending the determination of the certiorari application since his client was charged for allegedly conspiring with the others to steal.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, stated that she would have preferred the case continued but since the accused person was facing a conspiracy charge, she would leave the decision to the discretion of the judge.
Justice Kyei Baffuor subsequently adjourned the matter to November 12, 2019 pending the determination of the application slated for October 29.
Earlier, Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie could not continue with his defence which was slated for today.
The former NCA Board Chairman had at the tail end of last legal year opened his defence but could not continue as his lawyer prayed the court to give them some time “to put their house in order”.
Appearing before the court yesterday, his lawyer, Abu Juan, who prayed for an adjournment again, saying Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie was suffering a “running stomach” and “feeling dizzy” as well hence could not stay in the witness box.
He prayed for an adjournment to enable his client to seek medical attention.
The DPP did not oppose the prayer and the presiding judge granted it.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak