With Heavy Heart

It has been three days and my heart remains heavy and my eyes still full of tears as I reflect on the judgment of the commercial high court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour in the case of “The Republic verses Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others.

My understanding is that on counts such as stealing, conspiracy to enrich self and money laundering, all the accused persons were found not guilty. The three convicted persons, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, William Tevie and Alhaji Osman, were convicted on counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, misuse of public funds and breaches of the Public Procurement Act.

The 12th of May 2020 will forever remain another sad and black day in the history of our nation: For it was yet another day that service to motherland was thrown to the dogs. My thoughts and prayers are with the convicted persons and their families at this extremely difficult time.

William Tevie, Trailblazer and Pioneer

William Tevie, in particular, is someone I have known for over two decades. He was my competitor in the Telecommunications Industry: A trailblazer and a pioneer in internet and connectivity services in Ghana. He was one of the people who did the heavy lifting, sacrificed for the industry and helped shape the telecommunications industry to what we have today.

Tevie was Professor Nii Narku Quaynor’s deputy at Network Computer Services (NCS) just around the same time I was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africa Online and striving to build Africa Online into the biggest internet brand in Ghana in the early 2000’s.

Tevie and his team of young engineers at NCS were an inspiration and a benchmark for us (at Africa Online) as a company to model and exceed in service quality and response time.

This is a man who has served this country both in private and public service with excellence: The man who led the deployment of the first ever internet connectivity to many state institutions and taught some of our elders of today the use of a computer. Tevie is one we can describe as a complete technology professional. In Public life, he served as Director-General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), contributing greatly to the set-up of the
nation’s data center and leading the rollout of the backbone of our national fiber optic infrastructure.

As Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA) for just over a year, he was instrumental in efforts that led to the closing of revenue loopholes and the implementation of systems that ensured that Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) account (to the pesewa) to the nation for all revenues earned. He ensured that service standards are met and that operators delivered on their service conditions.

William Tevie is a technocrat; an expert in his field making his expertise and knowledge available for use by his country. He was just serving his nation: And even if he breached some sections of the Procurement Act as Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour, by his judgment, would want us to believe, the punishment meted out to Tevie does seem unfair and guided by apparent politically motivated point scoring.

Indeed, it is my genuine belief that William Tevie is a good man caught in a web of partisan political vindictiveness. If this is how we, as Ghanaians, treat our good people, our experts, our astute professionals, our change and transformational leaders, then history will not serve as a motivator for our young, smart and intelligent technocrats to serve in public service or political office.
May God save our dear nation.

By Ato Sarpong

The writer is a Chartered Accountant and Business Executive. He has served as a Deputy Minister of Communications of the Republic of Ghana and is the author of two life-changing books, “Living Beyond Today” and “Appetite for Wealth”.

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