Alleged coup plotters: Accused person’s absence halts trial

BY: Justice Agbenorsi

The trial of the 10 persons accused of plotting to overthrow the government was at a standstill on Tuesday when counsel for one of the accused told the court that his client was unwell.

He notified the court of a two-day excuse duty issued by a medical doctor for his client to rest.

At the court Tuesday, [November 9, 2021] counsel for Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, Mr Victor Adawudu, was expected to further cross-examine the third prosecution witness, Staff Sergeant Awarf Sule; however, Debrah was absent.

The excuse duty was signed by a medical doctor at the Ogbojo Polyclinic, Dr Joel Pabi.

The three-member panel of the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe said, “We all know that in a criminal matter the absence of one accused person makes it impossible for the trial to continue”.

“But we want to ensure that the excuse duty is coming from proper custody so we will be making an order for the doctor to appear before us tomorrow [Wednesday],” she added.

She, therefore, issued a subpoena for the medical doctor to appear before the court to confirm if he indeed saw and treated the accused person in question.

Not guilty

Ofosu and nine others are in court for allegedly taking part in the activities of Take Action Ghana (TAG), a non-governmental organisation, accused by the prosecution of planning to destabilise the country and take over the government.

The accused persons include Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Johannes Zikpi (a civilian employee of the Ghana Armed Forces) and Donya Kafui, aka Ezor (a blacksmith).

The rest are Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine, who 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 each, with two sureties, one to be justified, with the rest on bail in the sum of GH¢2 million each, with two sureties per accused, both to be justified.