William Tevie: I did not personally benefit from purchase of cyber-security machine
A former Director-General of the National Communication Authority (NCA), Mr William Tetteh Tevie who is standing trial for willfully causing financial loss to the state, stealing and using public office for personal gain says he never benefitted personally from the purchase of the cybersecurity machine meant to secure Ghana’s cyberspace.
Mr Tevie said when the Police conducted investigations into his personal accounts, no adverse report was found.
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According to Tevie he had never in his life stolen anything or money belonging to the state and the charge of stealing preferred against him by the state really hurt him.
Tevie said this when he opened his defence at his trial with others for causing financial loss to the state among other charges at the Accra High Court, reports the GNA.
He was giving his evidence in chief in respect of the US$4 million cybersecurity equipment allegedly purchased to fight terrorism and for cybersecurity in Ghana in the year 2016.
Led by Mr Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, his defence counsel, Tevie said when the incident happened he gave his bank account details to the Police but “they did not come out with adverse findings against me,” he told the court presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.
The former Director-General of NCA denied that he and the other accused conspired to steal from the state and also caused financial loss to the state through the purchase of the Pergasus machine.
“We couldn’t have caused financial loss if the said machine was purchased, tested and handed over to the state.”
According to him, if he had stolen from the state, the said Pergasus machine would not have been purchased and same be in the custody of the state.
“I couldn’t have stolen any money. If I did, the equipment would not have been here, same be housed in a house of the National Security Council Secretariat.”
He intimated that he also did not use his office for personal gains, adding that I never took state funds by signing cheques for the payment for the machine
Tevie said that he was not the only signatory to the NCA accounts and the purported cheques indicated that he and one Dr Ani, Director of Finance signed for the payment of the cybersecurity machine.
According to him, although the NCA did not have space on cybersecurity issues, the authority’s Engineering Department handled such matters.
The former Director-General of NCA debunked the assertion of the state that the 2016 budget of the NCA did not capture the purchase of the cybersecurity equipment.
He recalled the Director of Finance of the NCA, a prosecution witness, indicated to the court that there were some variations in the said budget and the machine’s purchase was captured.
Tevie said the Directors of Engineering and Finance of the NCA were aware and involved in the purchase of the machine and there were board minutes to that effect.
According to Tevie prior to joining the NCA there was a letter from Mr Yaw Donkor, the then Director of the National Security, requesting for the support for the purchase of the cybersecurity machine.
He recalled that he was invited to the National Security Council Secretariat conference room where demos of the said machine viewed by him, some security operatives and representatives of the Israeli firm, NSO.
The former Director-General of NCA said the Authority realized that security had moved into the country’s digital space and it was also important that the National Security also start looking into that arena.
He explained that in July 2015 that he joined the NCA, there were a lot of disruptions in relation to terrorism in Nigeria, and Burkina Faso hence Ghana also needed to put things in place to curtail terrorism.
Tevie said the machine could protect Ghana’s cyberspace and detect the footprints of terrorists.
Tevie is standing trial with Eugene Baffoe Bonnie former Board Chairman, Nana Owusu Ensaw, NCA board member, Alhaji Salifu Mimina, former Deputy National Security Coordinator and George Derrick Oppong, a Director of Infralock Development Limited.
The accused have been variously charged with stealing, using public office for personal gain, willfully causing financial loss to the state in respect of the purchase of a cyber-security equipment worth US$4 million.
They have all denied the charges and are currently on bail.
The matter has been adjourned to Jan 28.