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SAD NEWS: Accra High Court sentenced 3 soldiers and 6 others to death by hanging over coup plotting

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The Accra High Court trying nine persons for High Treason has sentenced six persons including three soldiers to death by hanging for plotting to overthrow the incumbent government.

They are Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah, Johannes Zikpi, Lance Airforce Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akankpewon and Warrant Officer Class Two (WOII) Esther Saan Dekuwine

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo, together with Colonel Samuel Kojo Gameli and Corporal Seidu Abubakar, the alleged accomplices were found not guilty after trial, thus they were acquitted and discharged.

The three-member Court made up of Justices of the Court of Appeal Hafisata Amaleboba, and Stephen Oppong and presided over by Mrs Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they took part in the attempted plan.

Both ACP Agordzo and Colonel Gameli were charged with abetment of crime, to wit, high treason.

Corporal Seidu Abubakar was also charged with conspiracy to commit High treason which they all denied.

ACP Dr Agordzo was not proven to be part of TAG’s executive WhatsApp platform, the speech alleged to have been given to the Doctor Mac-Palm (brain behind the plan but died in the course of the trial) was not authored by him nor did its content depict violence.

The GH¢2,000.00 given to the late Dr Mac-Palm was in furtherance of TAG’s medical outreach and not to fund the government’s overthrow plot.

The “big bang” and “Arab Spring,” Dr Agordzo mentioned to late Mac-Palm were taken out of context and that it was to begin something with enthusiasm and not to overthrow government, the Court found.

In the case of Colonel Gameli, the Court was told that he confessed knowledge of late Mac-Palm’s activities and the same was recorded on audio and diary of action of the Police but they were not put before the Court.

In a nearly four-hour judgment delivery, the Court said there was no evidence of confession by the Colonel to abet the crime.

However, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah, Johannes Zikpi, Lance Airforce Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akankpewon and Warrant Officer Class Two (WOII) Esther Saan Dekuwine were found culpable and sentenced to death by hanging for high treason.

The Court established that Debrah was tasked by the late Dr Mac-Palm to recruit others for the attempted overthrow, he held meetings with his accomplices, to discuss how to acquire weapons, the testing of the locally made weapons made by Kafui to that effect, trying to get recruits at GH¢50,000.00 each, for their participation, as well as supplied them with cellular phones to ease communication.

He was also identified in videos captured by Staff Sergeant Sule Kwadwo Awarf, the prosecution’s star witness.

In one of the videos, he was heard and seen asking how the improvised explosive devices described by the late Dr Mac-Palm as bombs, made by Kafui, would be detonated on the day the President, Vice President, Chief of Defense Staff, among key government officials, would be captured at a function.

The Court said that there was no need for a non-governmental organisation such as Take Action Ghana (TAG) to acquire arms, recruit 20 soldiers, no need for roadblocks, sketch on key public installations just to help deprived communities as Debrah claimed they were to aid their philanthropic work.

His defence does not absolve him, and it was an afterthought, he conspired with the late Mac-Palm and others and took steps to attempt committing the offence, the Court said.

In Zikpi’s case, the prosecution could not prove that he was employed to secure communication gadgets to jam radio and telecommunication networks should the plot succeed but he was convicted on his own confession statement.

The Court found Esther guilty on the grounds that she did not deny ever attending a meeting to plot the attempted overthrow.

She did not deny her Executive position in TAG, asked for unpaid allowances for “the boys,” that is recruited soldiers, and was aware of the plot, hence, she facilitated the plot by recruiting some soldiers.

The prosecution has proven conspiracy charges against Esther and acquitted on high treason, said the court.

The Court said LAC Ali also attended meetings, seen, and heard in the videos produced in court by the prosecution, and actively participated in the meetings, thus, he was found guilty on a conspiracy charge but not guilty of High treason.

Sylvester Akankpewon attended meetings, contributed to how roads would be blocked on the D-day, which routes to take, asked of their allowances, and how many people were taking part, thus, the Court found that he agreed to act with the other participants.

Akankpewon was convicted on the conspiracy charge but acquitted of high treason.

There was heavy security presence as the convicts were swiftly taken away to await their punishment.

The Attorney General’s Detail made up of Mrs Yvonne Attakorah Obuobisa, Director of Public Prosecution’s, Mr Alfred Tuah, deputy attorney general and others, was led by Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame.

The Court said Mr Victor Kwadjoga Adawudu failed to file his written submission when the court ordered.

Late Dr Mac-Palm, Donya Kafui and Staff Sergeant Sule Kwadwo Awarf, the star witness, who planned among the group to capture their activities towards achieving the coup plot were arrested in 2019, when testing the locally made guns made by Kafui upon a tip-off.

This led to the arrest of the others later and they were committed by the Kaneshie District Court to stand trial at the High Court since the District Court does not have jurisdiction.

Prosecution said improvised explosive devices, locally made guns, sketch maps of places to attack, WhatsApp conversations about the plot, among others were retrieved from them.

After Independence when the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first Prime Minister of Ghana was overthrown in 1966, this is the maiden treason trial in the country.

The 1992 Constitution frowns on an attempt to overthrow government for this reason, their actions are treasonable and punishable by law by hanging to death.

This is deter others from such acts, but the death penalty has not been carried out since the inception of the 1992 Constitution.

 

Source: GNA
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