The five soldiers accused of being part of a plot to destabilise the country on Tuesday, April 13, asked the Accra High Court to stop the Ghana Armed Forces(GAF) from sending soldiers to always follow them to court.
The soldiers are Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer (II) Esther Saan Dekuwine. Their lawyers told the court that the practice of soldiers following their clients to court was “intimidating”.
According to the lawyers, their clients were currently on bail and therefore the GAF had no business following them to court.
Following the complaints from the accused persons, a lawyer from GAF, Squadron Leader Adusa- Nana Agyemang, who was sitting in the public gallery, stood up as an ‘amicus curie’ and explained the rationale behind the act. She said soldiers following the accused persons to court was part of the protocols of GAF.
Soldiers, she said, always followed soldiers who were facing legal issues even in civil related cases to court.
The presiding judge, Justice Samuel Asiedu, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, siting is a High Court judge, asked Squadron Leader Agyemang the purpose of that practice. “The purpose is to provide morale support for the soldiers,” Squadron Leader Agyemang said.
Lawyers for accused persons – Messers Eric Pongo and Ziyerley Agbambila, said their clients were not asking for any morale support. “This is a situation where we don’t need any morale support,” they said.
Justice Asiedu, however, said there was nothing wrong with the practice, and rather he believed it was out of respect for the soldiers who were standing trial. He said so far as the soldiers were not following the accused persons out of court to curtail their personal liberties, there was nothing wrong with the practice.
The trial of the accused persons will commence on May 4, this year.
The five soldiers, a senior police officer – Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo, and four others – Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu and Johannes Zikpi have been accused of plotting to destabilise the country.
They are accused of being part of Take Action Ghana (TAG) – a group the prosecution claims was planning to destabilise the country.
Dr Mac-Palm, Kafui, Debrah, Dekuwine, Abubakar, L/Cpl Akanpewon and Zikpi have been charged with conspiracy to commit treason felony and treason felony, while Dr Mac-Palm and Kafui have been separately charged with conspiracy to possess explosives and ammunition without lawful excuse and possession of explosives and ammunition without lawful excuse.
Col Gameli and ACP Dr Agordzo have been charged with abetment to treason felony. All the 10 accused persons have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The facts of the case, as presented by the prosecutor Ms Hilda Craig, a Senior State Attorney, were that TAG plotted to destabilise the country and overthrow the government.
She claimed that, as part of the plot, Dr Mac-Palm, who is accused of being the mastermind of the plot, Kafui and Debrah planned on 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,” she said.
The prosecutor added that in June 2018, the security agencies picked up intelligence that the accused persons, under the auspices of TAG, had planned to overthrow and take over the government. According to her, as part of the plan, Col. Gameli recruited Zikpi, who was a signal specialist with the GAF, to help jam the radio signals of the National Communications Authority.
TAG, she said, planned to jam all radio stations, with the exception of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. The prosecutor said in furtherance of the plot, Dr Mac-Palm invited Kafui, who was a blacksmith at Alavanyo, to Accra to manufacture explosives and pistols for the group.
With regard to ACP Dr Agordzo,Ms Craig said he 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.