An Accra High Court has sentenced six members of the Western Togoland group to 26 years in prison in hard labour.
Prior to the ruling, lead counsel for the convicts, Chris Akume, prayed for clemency for his clients citing that they are first-time offenders who were simply keen to know more about their history.
“They joined various platforms in search of knowledge to enrich their history. Unfortunately, this quest for knowledge and attempt to know more about our history has landed us where we are.
“There has not been any intention to fall foul of the law. We are praying that since our intention for cessation or belongingness to the banned groups which for one reason or the other didn’t know it had been banned. It is well established we didn’t mean to commit any crime,” he told the court.
Additionally, Mr Akume also prayed the court to reduce any custodial sentence since the convicts had already spent more than two years in custody.
But the prosecution prayed the court to mete out a deterring sentence since the security of the country was at stake and the convicts had shown no remorse throughout the trial.
The six convicts – Kennedy Awunyo, Kwame Tornyevidzi a.k.a Abizibey, Raymond Yao Blu a.k.a Captain, Edem Nukornu a.k.a FBI Commander, Jerry Kpeglo and Sylvanus Seshie were sentenced to four years each in hard labour with the terms expected to run concurrently.
The third accused, Raymond Yao Blu will however serve 6 years for an additional charge of stealing contrary to section 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29)
Presiding Judge Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh noted that it was necessary to give a deterrent sentence at the discretion of the court.
Per the facts of the case “officers of the National Security Council, based on intelligence gathered, embarked on an exercise to identify and arrest members of the Western Togoland Restoration Front who, on 25th September 2020, blocked the road at Juapong and Sogakope and set fire to
two STC vehicles.
“On this same day, these same group of people also attacked the Aveyime and Mepe Police Stations respectively, freed the inmates in the cells, locked up the policemen on duty in the cells, took arms and ammunitions from the armoury of the police stations and bolted.
“The Western Togoland Restoration Front is a splinter organization from the Homeland Study Group Foundation, whose main objective is to secede from the Republic of Ghana. Investigations led to the arrest of the above-named accused persons who admitted being members of Western Togoland Restoration Front. They also admitted playing active roles in its organization and activities, such as attendance of meetings, contribution of funds and the receipt of funds for the running of the organization.
“When a search was conducted in the room of the first accused person, Kennedy Awunyo, quantities of Western Togoland flags and stickers were found. The first accused person received and disbursed funds of the Western Togoland Restoration Front to ensure that the plans of the organization materialized.
The second accused person, Kwame Tornyevidzi@Abizibey, was found to have stolen one AK47 rifle at the Aveyime Police Station during the raid on 25th September 2020. The third accused person, Raymond Yao Blu@Captain, admitted participating in Western Togoland’s gorilla military training after which he was issued with a certificate. When a search was conducted in the room of the third accused person, a Western Togoland membership card and an army gorilla training certificate in his name and with his picture embossed on it, were found.
“The third, fourth and sixth accused persons were also found to have contributed funds for the running of the Western Togoland Restoration Front. But for the vigilance of the security agencies, the activities of the accused persons and others at large would have led to the disruption of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections on 7th December 2020 in the Volta and Oti Regions respectively. After investigations, the accused persons have been brought before this Honorable Court for trial.”
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