Fate of ‘coup plotters’ in a balance as jury isn’t available to decide on case

BY WWW.GHANAWEB.COM - Oct 18, 2020 at 7:01am 100

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The fate of the 10 persons standing trial for allegedly plotting a coup to destabilise the country and possibly overthrow the government is still undecided as the jury is not fully constituted.

According to a Graphic report, this made the High Court adjourn the trial to November 20, in an expectation that the required pool of jurors will be constituted from which seven will be selected for the trial.

The jury was expected to be empanelled on Friday October 16, but the presiding judge announced that the jurors were not available at that particular time.

Justice Samuel Asiedu, the high court judge hearing the case, indicated that letters had been sent to various institutions as well as organisations to make their members available for jury duties but those institutions have yet to respond.

“I will get the registrar to get the members ready for the jury to be empanelled,” Justice Asiedu said, when he was announcing the adjournment of the trial.

The accused persons standing trial include Dr. Frederick Mac-Palm, the main person accused of masterminding the alleged plot, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, Johannes Zikpi, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon and Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon.

Others are Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, a senior military officer and ACP) Dr. Benjamin Agordzo, a senior police officer.

Dr. Mac-Palm, Kafui, Debrah, Dekuwine, Abubakar, L/Col Akanpewon and Zikpi have pleaded not guilty to the charge of treason felony and conspiracy to commit treason felony, while Dr. Mac-Palm and Kafui have separately pleaded not guilty to the charge of 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 pleaded not guilty to the charge of abetment in a treason felony.

Background

The 10 who are part of a group known as TAG, an NGO, are alleged to have planned on demonstrating against the Government of Ghana and “possibly take over the government”.

Prosecutors say the group had a map in their possession when they were arrested with some important state installations targeted.

The alleged state institutions targeted are the Jubilee House, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Burma Camp, the 37 Military Hospital and the National Police Training School.

Dr. Mac-Palm, Kafui and Debrah as part of the alleged coup plot had 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,” the prosecutors added.

The prosecution indicated that in June 2018, the security agencies picked up intelligence that the accused persons had planned to overthrow and take over the government.

Col. Gameli is said to have recruited Zikpi, who was a signal specialist with the GAF, to help jam the radio signals of the National Communications Authority with the exception of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

The prosecution 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 TAG.

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