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General News Wed, 8 Dec 2021

Treason trial: They promised to take our passports and give us visas - Witness tells court

The prosecution team in the ongoing treason trial against some 10 individuals alleged to have plotted to overthrow the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called its fifth witness to the stand.

Sergeant Natornah Jonas was called to the witness box on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, during the sitting of the Accra High Court hearing the matter to give his oral testimony.

In his testimony, the witness told the court how his colleague soldier, Staff Sergeant Sulley Awarf recruited him to join the alleged coup plot and they both collected evidence against the accused persons on the instructions of their superiors.

“Sometime between April and June 2018, Sgt. Sulley Awarf, who is a friend called me and asked us to meet. I, therefore, went to his place at MATS, Teshie Barracks to meet him.

“In our conversation, he informed me that some people wanted us to meet them for a discussion. I then told him to meet the people to find out the reason for the meeting.

"The next morning, Sgt. Awarf came to my workplace at Nicholson Stadium, Burma Camp and told me he had met the people. He informed me that they wanted us to organise some soldiers to take over power from the government. I told him that we should immediately inform our superiors,” the witness told the court.

He said, he was informed by Sgt Awarf that he had discussed the matter with one Sgt. Zakari Waheed, who suggested they inform Colonel Opoku about the plot.

“The next day, Sgt. Awarf Sulley and Sgt. Zakari Waheed went to the Blue Gate, Osu Castle Annex to see Colonel Opoku, Sgt Awarf Sulley later came back to my workplace and told me Colonel Opoku had directed him to meet the MATS Commandant as well as the Director DI.

“Later on, Sgt. Awarf Sulley informed me that, Director D.I had instructed him to organise some trusted soldiers. I, therefore, briefed him one Sgt. Nazieng Victor who is a brother and he agreed to join Sgt. Awarf Sulley, Sgt. Zakari Waheed and myself. We then made a list bearing our names and the same was submitted to Director D. I.

On their first meeting with the accused persons to map out activities for the alleged coup plot, the witness told the court that the meeting was held at Next Door Beach in Accra, that the meeting was led by Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, one of the accused persons.

Sergeant Nartonah told the court that the attendees including himself and some other soldiers were given a sheet of paper in which they all registered their names.

“The discussions at the meeting centred on how to execute the coup plot and Bright asked us to prepare a list of items that we would require for the operation,” the witness added.

The fifth prosecution witness said he was later informed by Sgt. Awarf Sulley that the Director of Defense Intelligence had instructed that the prepare a list of items for same to be presented to Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu on the next meeting of the group plotting the coup.

The witness said the group then met for a second meeting at the same location as the first meeting where they presented the list of items to the entire group.

Sgt. Natornah added that he took down notes of questions and suggestions during the meeting in the notebook in which the items needed for the operation was listed.

The witness thus tendered into evidence the said notebook and a sheet of paper on which he wrote questions, answers and suggestions made at the meeting.

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He noted that Bright informed the group about the absence of the leader of the plot, Doctor Fredrick Yao Mac Palm, the first accused person, and assured the gathering that their passports will be taken for visas when the doctor who was outside the country returned.

“At this meeting, Bright made us aware that he was not the final authority. He indicated that his boss is a medical doctor who had travelled and would meet us upon his return. Bright also promised us that we would be given visas and our bank account details would be taken when the doctor arrives. The meeting then came to an end after refreshment,” he told the court.

He said he didn’t have any engagement with the group again until later when he was informed that Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu had been put on the wanted list of the military police.

He told the court that he saw Bright at the Passport Office in Accra sometime between May and June 2019 and that his initial response was to alert the military police personnel present to arrest the accused person (Bright).

The witness said he called Sgt. Awarf Sulley to inform him about his intention and he was asked to hold on while an attempt was made to contact the Director of Defense Intelligence.

“Sgt Awarf Sulley however asked me to monitor him closely whilst he tries to contact the Director D. I. for instructions. Sgt. Awarf Sulley however called back and informed me that he could not reach the Director D. I. He then asked that we let Bright go. I never heard from Sgt. Awarf Sulley until 20th September, 2019, when he called me to come over to his house at Teshie.

The witness said he was informed by the prosecution witness (Sgt. Awarf Sulley) that Doctor Mac Palm procured some locally manufactured pistols to be tried at the Next Door Beach and that in the process of testing the weapons, the Southern Command Patrol team of the Ghana Armed Forces came to effect their arrest.

The witness said he was arrested on September 24, 2019, by the military police to assist in investigations.

The testimony of the witness was followed by cross-examination by the defence counsel which began with a lawyer for some of the accused persons, Ephriam Agbeko Vordoagu.

The court has adjourned sitting to Monday, December 13, 2021, for cross-examination of the witness by counsels for the defence to continue.

The case of the prosecution

The accused persons in court for allegedly taking part in the activities of Take Action Ghana (TAG), a non-governmental organisation, accused by the prosecution of planning to destabilise the country to take over the government.

The accused persons include Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu (a fleet manager), Johannes Zikpi (a civilian employee of the Ghana Armed Forces) and Donya Kafui, aka Ezor (a blacksmith).

The rest — Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine — are all soldiers.

All the 10 accused persons have pleaded not guilty to charges including high treason.
Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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