The lawyer for the nine alleged coup plotters has said his clients never intended to undertake a coup but that they were entrapped into buying guns by a military officer.
Mr Victor Kodzoga Adawudu told the Accra High Court on Monday during an application for bail that his clients were lured by a military officer known as Sule into procuring the said guns.
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He said Sule, who was a member of Take Action Ghana (TAG), the group accused of plotting to overthrow the government, had advised the group to procure guns, after its members were attacked during an outreach programme in the Upper East Region.
On why TAG was formed, counsel claimed the group was a non-governmental organisation (NGO) purposefully formed to educate people on social and governance issues.
According to him, TAG mainly engaged in medical and social outreach programmes in all parts of the country and it also had a social media platform which had members from all walks of life.
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“Lawyers, soldiers, taxi drivers and many others were part of this group,” he said.
Counsel said after the group was attacked in the Upper East Region, Sule, being a military officer, offered to procure guns for TAG and also helped to register the guns.
It was on the basis of Sule’s advice, he said, that the group invited one of the accused persons from Alavanyo in the Volta Region to manufacture guns to be used to protect the group.
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Mr Adawudu also informed the court that Sule further aided the group to have the guns tested at the Teshie Military Range.
“The next day, this same Sule came with security men to have the accused arrested,” counsel said.
He alleged that Sule was said to be on the run, but he could say emphatically that he was still in the military, walking freely.
“My clients are good people who have found themselves at the wrong side of the law because of entrapments,” he argued.
Submission for bail
Supporting his argument for bail, Lawyer Adawudu argued that the court should grant his clients bail because the prosecution did not have any solid case against them.
He said the facts of the case did not support the charges slapped against his clients
It was, therefore, his prayer that the accused persons be admitted to bail while they fought the charges levelled against them.
“TAG was planning a coup”
In her response, a Senior State Attorney, Ms Hilda Craig, rebutted the arguments by counsel and urged the court to dismiss them.
She argued that TAG did not involve itself in social engagements but that its activities were geared towards overthrowing the government.
It was her submission that the case against the alleged coup plotters was not mere allegation but that there was evidence that TAG “planned, plotted and agreed to overthrow the government”.
The Senior State Attorney wondered why an NGO would procure weapons.
“Why will an NGO need weapons for protection? If it had problems, it should go to the police for protection. We have overwhelming evidence against them and when the trial starts, we will bring them,” she submitted.
Meanwhile, Mr Adawudu failed in his attempt to secure bail for the seven who have been charged with first degree felony.
Those seeking bail are Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, Donyo Kafui, aka Ezor, and Bright Alan Debrah.
In a ruling yesterday, the court refused to admit them to bail, on the basis that per the allegations levelled against them, their two-months detention was reasonable.
The presiding judge, Justice George Buadi, was of the view that conspiracy to commit treason and treason were serious offences and, therefore, it was not unreasonable for the state to detain them for two months as investigations continued.
He upheld the submissions by the State Attorney that releasing the accused on bail at that stage was likely to hamper investigations because they had the capacity to interfere with investigations.
“Two months of detention on suspicion of committing treason is not unreasonable. I am of the considered view that the applicants have not been unreasonably detained. I will, therefore, refuse the application for bail,” Justice Buadi ruled.
The nine accused persons, 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 Gameli, Warrant Officer Class II Dekuwine, Cpl Abubakar, L/Cpl Ali Solomon and L/Cpl Akanpewon.
The other accused persons are Dr Mac-Palm, a medical practitioner; Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith; Debrah, a fleet manager, and Gershon Akpah, a weapons mechanic at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
The accused persons have been 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.
Prosecutors have accused the nine of being part of a group known as 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 it had targeted.