10 accused of plotting coup d’etat
Sixth prosecution witness in coup trial put under cross-examination
Witness testifies on coup plotters meeting
A defence counsel in the ongoing coup trial has challenged the testimony of the prosecution’s sixth witness that his client, who is among the ten persons charged with high treason, participated in an alleged meeting to plot a government overthrow.
Sergeant Nartornah Y. K. Jonas last week gave his oral testimony for the prosecution.
The witness, in his testimony, alleged that his colleague in the Ghana Armed forces, Staff Sergeant Awarf Sulley, acting on the instructions of their superiors, recruited him to infiltrate the alleged coup group and collect evidence on the activities of the accused persons.
He told the court that he attended one of the meetings of the group held on June 22, 2018, and as part of his evidence gathering, he copied the names of the attendees on a sheet and took note of questions, answers and suggestions made during the meeting.
But conducting his cross-examination of the witness on Monday, December 13 2021, lawyer Lamtig Apanga, who is counsel for WO Esther Saan Dukuwine, put it to the witness that the supposed list he presented as evidence to the court is entirely the witness’ creation which he has brought to mislead the court.
Sgt. Nartonah argued otherwise saying contents of the sheet was an actual recording of events during the meeting.
“I put it to you that A6 did not attend any meeting with you on June 22, 2018,” the lawyer said but the witness insisted that the accused person was part of the meeting on the said date.
Asked whether he had known or had any association with the sixth accused person prior to the supposed meeting, the witness said “I’ve known her to be a Northerner and her sister as well. But I’ve never approached her or get into contact with her until we met at the first meeting and we spoke together.”
The defence counsel at a point during his cross-examination of the witness, asked for a recording from the meeting tendered in evidence by the third prosecution witness as evidence be played and asked that the sixth prosecution witness notifies the court if he is able to make out the voice of his client in the audio.
At the back of his testimony that he sat beside his colleague, Sgt Awarf Sulley who was secretly recording the meeting, the lawyer Apanga asked the sixth prosecution witness “I am putting it to you that from the testimony that you sat next to Sgt Awarf in the said meeting, everything you said while the recording device was on ought to be heard and recorded.”
The witness answered him “I don’t know whether my voice was Captured on not because we were all making contributions while the meeting was going on and listening to the Audio right now, when you talk and it’s not on a high pitch what you say will not come on the audio recording.”
The lawyer then went on to dispute the claims of his client being present during the said meeting of June 22, 2021, while insisting that the prosecution witness had no prior or post engagement with his client in relation to the alleged coup plot.
The witness, despite agreeing with the defence counsel that he never engaged his client directly about the alleged coup plot, maintained that WO Esther Dukuwine was present and participated in the said meeting.
On the sheet tendered in evidence by the witness as recordings of events and attendees from the meeting, the lawyer for the sixth accused person said his client was not captured as having made any suggestion, asked a question or answered any.
“A6 is not captured on exhibit E as having made any suggestion?” the lawyer asked, to which the witness answered in the affirmative.
“I am finally putting it to you that what you have told this court in respect of the alleged offences are facts manufactured by you to mislead the court,” the defence lawyer retorted before closing his cross-examination.
The Accra High Court sitting on the matter is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The case of the prosecution
The accused persons are 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.