Coup plot allegations: 2 senior officers arraigned today

BY GRAPHIC.COM.GH - Nov 06, 2019 at 7:52am 100

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Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo, and Superintendent Peter Lanchene Toobu (retd), who have been detained over their alleged involvement in a plot to destabilise the country, will be arraigned today.

Dr Agordzo is a serving police officer and former Director of the Transformation Office of the Ghana Police Service, while Supt Toobu (retd) is the former Executive Secretary to the immediate past Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante Apeatu.

Supt Toobu resigned in July this year to contest the Wa West Constituency seat on the ticket of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Dr Agordzo, according to sources within

the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and his lawyers, was invited by the BNI last Monday afternoon and had been detained since, while Mr Toobu was invited yesterday afternoon for questioning after which he was also detained.

Both are alleged to have connections with the alleged coup plot to destabilise the country and for which some people are currently in court with charges of treason.

The Daily Graphic learnt that although Dr Agordzo has not been charged with any offence, he has been cautioned, meaning he is being treated as a suspect.

Offence

Dr Agordzo is alleged to have offered some assistance to the leader of the alleged coup plotters, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, and some eight other suspects, including military officers, who had also been charged with treason.

Dr Agordzo just returned from a United Nations mission last Monday and was at the Police Headquarters for reposting when he was picked up.

Another top police chief, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Nathan Kofi Boakye, has also been questioned in connection with the matter.

Counsel for Dr Agordzo, Mr Martin Kpebu, said his client saw the arrest as a witch-hunt.

He said his client believed his arrest had to do with his famous presentation at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), where he bemoaned the political interference in the police service.

Mr Kpebu said the interrogation last Monday largely centred on a contribution he made on a WhatsApp platform created by the nine other accused persons, to the effect that the conditions prevailing in Ghana were conducive and rife for an Arab Spring-like outburst.

According to Mr Kpebu, his client was confronted with the messages in which he had allegedly advised members of the group, who were planning a demonstration, to seek police permit.

"This Arab Spring that today if you check in the media, you will get over 40 commentators who have persistently warned that we should take steps to create employment, lest, we have Arab Spring. These are the reasons for which he is being kept,” Mr Kpebu fumed.

“It’s a shame. The way they are going about this. Seven hours at the BNI and they only confronted him over WhatsApp messages. What’s treasonable about his comment on Arab Spring,” the counsel said quizzically.

Mr Kpebu said the accusation was that Dr Agordzo donated GH¢2,000 to Take Action Ghana (TAG) for an activity at Agbogbloshie. TAG is the group allegedly formed by Dr Mac-Palm to organise a series of demonstrations to protest hardships in the country.

Family allowed

The lawyer said the distinguished police officer had been detained since Monday and his family, including his wife and children, got to the BNI at 6 a.m. yesterday, but were only allowed access to him after 4 p.m.

“I was allowed after 3 p.m. This is an egregious violation of the Constitution. He has a right to a lawyer and family visit,” Mr Kpebu stated.

The family of ACP Agordzo expressed disappointment with the BNI for delaying them for about eight hours on the BNI premises before allowing them to see their detained family member.

Intimidation

His wife, Mrs Felicia Agordzo, described the arrest of her husband as an “intimidation.”

“I don’t see why he can send such a WhatsApp message and it will lead to his detention,” she said.

Mrs Agordzo stated that she was shocked when she received the information about the arrest of her husband.

“But after seeing him, I felt better. At least, I’ve seen him, I’ve spoken to him and I think it is a better way of relieving myself than waiting without seeing him,” she told Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station.

At the BNI cells, she said, her husband told her that “God is in control.”

Notwithstanding the development, she expressed the hope that the truth would come out and ACP Agordzo would be set free.

Treatment

A brother of ACP Agordzo, Mr Cephas Agordzo, also said his brother was doing “very good” when the family saw him around 4 p.m.

He said his brother told them that he was satisfied with the treatment by the BNI and that nothing was disturbing him in the BNI custody.

He wondered why his brother was being accused of wrongdoing over his alleged comments relating to the Arab Spring, when many people, including some pastors, had talked about it but nothing happened to them.

“If others spoke about the same topic and nothing happened to them and then Dr Agordzo says it and he has become an enemy to the system, then I don’t know where we are going,” Mr Agordzo said.

Treason

Meanwhile, a medical practitioner, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, and nine others, including five soldiers, have been charged with treason on allegations of plotting to destabilise the country and possibly take over the government.

The accused persons are a high-ranking military officer, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli; Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO 2) Esther Saan Dekuwine; Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) Ali Solomon and L/Cpl Sylvester Akanpewon.

The others are Donyo Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith; Bright Alan Debrah, a fleet manager, and Gershon Akpah, a weapons mechanic at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

Charges

The accused persons have been charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit treason felony, treason felony, conspiracy to possess explosives, arms and ammunition without lawful excuse and possession of explosives, arms and ammunition without lawful excuse.

Two other soldiers L/Cpl Albert Baba Ibrahim and L/Cpl Godwin Nii Ankrah, who were previously arraigned as being part of the plot, have, however, been discharged.

Prosecutor’s case

Prosecutors have accused the nine of being part of a group known as TAG, a non-governmental organisation, which was alleged to have planned to embark on demonstrations against the government and possibly take over the government.

It is also the case of the prosecution that a map found in the possession of the accused persons showed some important state installations.

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