From Accused Person
It has emerged in the ongoing trial of ex-board members of National Communication Authority (NCA) that, the Deputy Director General of the Authority, Dr. Isaac Yaw Ani, the second prosecution witness for the state, onetime demanded a whopping US$2 million from the owner of Infraloks Development Limited, George Derek Oppong, one of the accused persons.
Interestingly, Dr. Ani, had denied knowing anything about Infraloks Development Limited, but was last Thursday, seen visibly uncomfortable when Lawyer Thaddeus Sory, pulled out a letter from a consultancy firm called, Mckush Consultancy Service owned by the prosecution witness.
The document, dated December 5, 2016 and titled “Transfer of million United States Dollars to LTI Management Co. Ltd”, was addressed to George Derek Oppong by Dr. Isaac Ani, who directed the accused person’s company; Infraloks Development Limited to release US$2 million to LTI Management Limited also owned by the deputy NCA boss.
It only read “I refer to the arrangement made between your company and my firm about the above payment. Please effect the transfer to the company below: Name of Company: LTI Management Company Ltd. Bank: Capital Bank,Ashaiman Branch. A/C: no Foreign Currency Account – 1360001917171840 (Off-Shore). A/C no Forex Exchange Account – 1370001917171840 (Local Dollar)”.
It is not yet clear, what US$2 million to Dr. Ani’s LTI Management Limited was about, but quite curiously, the demand for US$2 million was made just around the time Infraloks Development Ltd was paid an amount of US$4 Million by NCA.
What makes the case more interesting is that, Dr. Ani, as the Director for Finance is the person who authorized Ecobank to make the said payment to Infraloks.
Mr Sory, had asked the witness whether he knows McKush Consultancy Services and LTI and whether McKush Consultancy Services, had had any working relationships with Infraloks Development Limited.
Dr. Ani stated that he knows McKush Consultancy because it is a company he established, but it has no working relationship with IDL.
But the lawyer surprised the witness with the document and asked him to identify whether it is a letter from his McKush Consultancy Limited to IDL asking it to transfer the US$2 million.
The witness confirmed that the letter was from his firm to IDL.
Same Dr. Ani during his evidence-in-chief led y Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Attakora Obuobi said that “When I got to the office, the board chairman, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie was with the Director General and the board chairman said that there is an urgent need by the national security to procure cyber security equipment and therefore we should support the national security with $4 million”.
But Lawyer Sory, who is the lead counsel for Mr Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, put it to the witness that he was not being truthful to the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, when he said he only got to know about the request from the National Security Council Secretariat for the purchase of the system somewhere in February 2016.
Again, although Dr. Ani, claimed in his testimony that his consultancy firm, Mckush Consultancy Services, was into teaching, Mr Sory, produced records from the Registrar General’s Department to show that the witness’ firm was into risk management, accounting and marketing strategy.
Furthermore, Dr. Ani, denied ever knowing of the contract for the purchase of cyber security equipment until February 2016. This testimony also later turned out to be untrue, when he was later confronted with a minutes of the finance committee of NCA for June 2015 of which he was a part.
The minutes of the 33rd and the 34th meeting of the finance committee of the NCA board, showed that Dr. Ani was present when the purchase of the cybersecurity equipment called Pegasus was discussed in the meeting in June 2015.
The witness admitted that he was part of those committee meetings which discussed the issues but said he was not being untruthful as he meant the first time he got to know about the system in 2016 was in February. This was when the lawyer put it to the witness that he has been part of the committee which sat on the matter back in June 2015, hence he was privy to the discussions way before February 2016.
The credibility of the prosecution witness was again tested when Lawyer Sory, sought to know why he had different signatures for various purposes.
Dr. Ani admitted being the signatory to some documents relating to the case, but explained that he used a different signature for cheques aside from official documents, adding he adopted that strategy to protect his signatures from being cloned on cheques.
“So your signatures on all documents are the same apart from cheques?” Mr Sory queried, to which Dr. Ani answered, “Yes and even on internal memos”.
Asked by Lawyer Sory whether he had three signatures, Dr Ani responded “it is similar to what I sign”.
According to the facts of the case as presented by the Attorney General, Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, William Tettey Tevie, Nana Ensaw and Alhaji Osman, were allegedly aided by Mr Oppong, to engage in the criminal act.
It said the previous administration had contracted an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited, to supply a listening equipment at a cost of $6 million to enable the authorities to monitor conversations of persons suspected to be engaged in terror activities.
A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, charged US$2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million. The facts indicate that the National Security apparatus 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.
The fact sheets also said $4 million was withdrawn from the NCA’s account, while $1 million out of the withdrawn amount was deposited into the account of the Israeli company.The A-G explained that the remaining $3million was lodged in the account of Oppong, who acted as a representative of the local agents, Infraloks Development Ltd.
All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to various counts of causing financial loss of $4 million to the state. The High Court, has also granted each accused person a $1-million bail, with three sureties, and directed them to surrender their passports to the Registrar of the Court.
Cross examination of Dr. Ani continues tomorrow, Tuesday October 23, 2018.