The controversial $8 million deal between the NCA, an Israeli company, NSO Technologies Group and their local agents Infraloks Development Limited (IDL), appears to be getting murkier.
The contract documents covering the deal and the rejoinders and denials issued by the persons cited in the deal are raising more questions.
Former officials of the National Communications Authority – Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, Board Chairman; William Tevie; former Director-General and one Alhaji Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator among others, are being investigated by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) over their involvement in the scandal.
The NCA contracted IDL which in turn contracted NSO Group to supply intelligence equipment at the cost of $6 million, to enable National Security monitor conversations of persons suspected to be engaged in terrorist activities. IDL charged the state $2 million as a facilitator for the transaction. A sum of $4 million was withdrawn from the NCA’s accounts and lodged in IDL’s account. Out of that amount, $1 million was paid to the Isreali company.
Days after Joy FM broke the news, IDL Chief Executive, Mr. George Oppong, Mr. Tevie and one Nana Dr. Nsor in separate statements and rejoinders, have denied taking any monies from the Authority.
Private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini who has been studying documentation covering the entire transaction believes the contract was shrouded in traditional national security sensitivity, and this may have allowed some of the parties to do things without recourse to due process.
Mr. Anyenini who also hosts weekly news and current affairs programme, Newsfile, on JoyNews TV and Joy FM, stated that there were many “surprises in the process”.
“What you may find is a confirmation of various processes and a bit more detail about the transaction and surprises in the process,” Samson told Kojo Yankson, host of the Super Morning Show Monday, May 29, 2017.
The whole deal caught the attention of government after NSO Technologies threatened a court action over delays in the release of the second tranche of the contract after the NCA formally confirmed delivery and installation of the equipment.
The NCA letter was later found to be misleading as the BNI later found the equipment in someone’s private garage somewhere in Accra.
In his rejoinder, IDL’s George Oppong revealed that he had done everything possible to transfer the $3 million to NSO Group but the NCA simply wouldn’t cooperate with him.
Lawyer Anyenini said it was at this point “where you will find the difficulties beginning to arise and the banks insisting that if you [NCA] don’t follow the rules, the monies will not be transferred”.
Despite the insistence by the bank that necessary conditions are met before the rest of the funds are transferred to the Israeli-based company, the NCA surprisingly, according to the rejoinder, sought and obtained amounts totalling $1.5 million from IDL, an amount which is said to have been shared by Board members of the Authority.
“How part of that money gets to be taken out and given to the signatory… is a question that has to be answered,” Samson stated.
Whilst there was a back and forth between IDL and the NCA over the necessary documentation to allow for the transfer of the $3 million toNSO Group, IDL in its rejoinder claimed that it discovered that NCA paid $2 million to the company.
This revelation, Samson said, is curious because there was no contract between NCA and the Israeli company. He, therefore, wondered on what basis the NCA was able to sidestep IDL with which it had a contract which was subsisting, and deal directly with NSO Technologies.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Mustapha Hamid says the Government is determined to collect “every pesewa” that was wrongly taken from public coffers.
Some of the persons who benefited from the alleged loot are said to have entered into an arrangement with the BNI and have begun the process to refund the monies to the state while the BNI intensifies its search for Alhaji Osman, a key person in the deal.