Accused planned to destabilise country— Prosecution witness

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
•FLASHBACK: Two of the accused persons, Dr Frederick Mac-Palm (left) and Donya Kafui
•FLASHBACK: Two of the accused persons, Dr Frederick Mac-Palm (left) and Donya Kafui

The second prosecution witness in the trial of the 10 persons alleged to have plotted to destabilise the country, has testified that Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, the first accused person in the case, indicated at a meeting to the group that the economic and social environment in the country was in chaos; hence, the need to effect a change through the alleged coup.

Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh, who mounted the witness box yesterday, also told the court that the third accused person, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, also sought to convince soldiers present at the meeting held at the Next Door Beach Resort in Accra to believe in the alleged coup by saying “the coup they were embarking on was in the interest of the soldiers and their families and that those at the helm of affairs only taught about their pockets”.

Major General Andoh, who is also the Chief of Staff at the General Headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces, said at a meeting that took place on June 22, 2018, Ofosu indicated that there was mass corruption and both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were corrupt, citing the Subah and GEEDA alleged corruption.

Witness

The witness, who gave his examination-in-chief by the Attorney-General (A-G), Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, said: “Ofosu indicated that the country was not ready for democracy and cited the discipline that JJ Rawlings’s 1979 coup brought into the country. He also told the soldiers that the 1979 coup was led by the junior ranks before the senior officers came on board.

Ofosu, according to the witness, assured the officers present at the meeting that there were senior officers behind the plot who did not want to reveal their identity at that stage but were ready to come on board at the appropriate time.

“My lord, Ofosu sought to brainwash the soldiers, incite them, to create disaffection for the government in order to procure their loyalty and support for the coup,” Major General Andoh told the court.

Present at the said meeting, he said, were the following soldiers: Lance Corporal Ali Solomon and Sylvester Akanpewon, Corporal Seidu Abubakar and Awarf Sule, among others.

Elimination

The witness said On July 7, 2018, there was another meeting where Esther Saan Dekuwine had indicated that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo be eliminated.

The Maj. Gen. said the evidence given to the court was based on information that got to him from his operatives from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and WhatsApp communication extraction from the group.

He further told the court that his analysis indicated that Dr Mac-Palm was the main brain because he took practical steps to overthrow the government.

He said they included steps to recruit security personnel, both military and police, to advance their skills and also took steps to manufacture weapons that could cause harm and kill people.

Not guilty

The 10 accused persons are alleged to be part of Take Action Ghana (TAG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which the prosecution argues had been planning to destabilise the country and take over the reins of government.

They are Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Dr Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli and Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, the Director of Citadel Hospital in Accra.

The others are Donya Kafui, a blacksmith; Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, a fleet manager, and Johannes Zikpi, a civilian employee of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

The rest — Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine — are all soldiers.

ACP Dr Agordzo and Col. Gameli have pleaded not guilty to abetment of high treason, while the rest have pleaded not guilty to high treason and conspiracy to commit high treason.

Per Section 180 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), the punishment for high treason is death.

The two senior security officers are on bail in the sum of GH¢1 million, with two sureties, one to be justified, with the rest on bail in the sum of GH¢2 million, with two sureties, both to be justified

The case is before a three-member panel of the Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaah Asare-Botwe

Prosecution’s facts

It is the case of the prosecution that the accused persons used TAG as a platform to mobilise in order to destabilise the country and overthrow the government.

It said as part of the plot, Dr Mac-Palm, who is accused of being the mastermind, along with Kafui and Debrah, had planned kidnapping the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief of the Defence Staff and force the President to announce his overthrow.

“Again, there were discussions on whether or not to kill the President in the process of overthrowing the government,” the prosecution said.

 With regard to ACP Agordzo, the prosecution said he joined a WhatsApp platform of TAG created by Dr Mac-Palm, where the group discussed a planned demonstration which was likened to the ‘Arab Spring’.

He said ACP Agordzo donated GH¢2,000 to TAG to aid its cause and also drafted a speech for Dr Mac-Palm to be read at the planned demonstration by TAG.