Nine people, including five soldiers, have been charged with treason on allegations of plotting to destabilise the country and “possibly take over the government”.
The soldiers are 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 other accused persons are Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, medical practitioner; Donyo Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith; Bright Alan Debrah, a fleet manager, and Gershon Akpah, a weapons mechanic at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
The accused persons were sent to the Kaneshie District Court yesterday and charged with four counts – 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 were, however, discharged.
That was after the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Sylvester Asare, had withdrawn three separate charge sheets in relation to the case and presented a new charge sheet which had the nine as the accused persons.
Prosecutors have accused the nine of being part of a group known as Take Action Ghana (TAG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which is 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, such as the Jubilee House, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Burma Camp, the 37 Military Hospital and the National Police Training School, which the group had targeted.
In his submission, counsel for the accused, Mr Victor Kojogah Adawudu, described the case as a set-up and argued that the prosecution’s facts were full of factual inaccuracies.
He urged the court to discharge his clients on the basis that the district court had no jurisdiction to hear the case. ASP Asare, in his response, rebutted the arguments by counsel, saying they were not right in law.
He argued that the charges levelled against the accused were first degree felonies which were indictable offences and that where indictable offences were involved, the district court was the first port of call.
He also refuted defence counsel’s assertion that the case was a set-up against the accused persons. In its ruling, the court, presided over by Ms Rosemond Duodu Agyiri, upheld the arguments of the prosecution that the court had jurisdiction over the case.
She said the district court was not the trial court and, therefore, it could not grant the accused bail or take their plea.