Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Pious Enam Hadzide, has called on the general public to stop making fun of a recent announcement by the government that some three civilians were working with some serving military personnel to destabilise the country and take over the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Among the weapons retrieved from the three civilian suspects was a kitchen knife, which sparked a troll frenzy on social media with some Ghanaians posting memes to poke fun at the coup claim.
Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, owner of Citadel Hospital and his two accomplices – Mr Ezor Kafui (a local weapon manufacturer) and Mr Bright Allan Debrah Ofosu (aka BB or ADC) – were arrested on Friday, 20 September 2019 at Accra and Bawaleshie near Dodowa.
A government press statement issued by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Monday, 23 September 2019, said: “A joint security operation of personnel drawn from Defence Intelligence, CID and Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), conducted a successful operation which led to the arrest of three persons and the retrieval of several arms, explosive devices and ammunition from locations in Accra”.
The release explained that surveillance on the activities of the persons involved commenced in June 2018, when Dr Mac-Palm and Mr Ofosu started organising a series of meetings at the Next-Door Beach Resort, Teshie, and other locations in Accra, in furtherance of their objectives.
The minister’s statement said: “…Between June and August 2018, BB, acting for and on behalf of Dr Mac-Palm, contacted a number of serving military personnel, and talked them into hatching and executing a plot to obtain weapons, take over key installations, and secure funding for the purpose of taking over the reins of government. These meetings were closely monitored”.
Again, the statement said in August 2018, Dr Mac-Palm and two others, Kennedy Amoah and Dr Albert Sam (based in the USA), formed a group called ‘Take Action Ghana” (TAG) “under the guise of mobilising the youth for nation-building, education, health, and providing shelter to the needy”.
Mr Nkrumah said: “Evidence available shows the intent was to build a support base of youth and radicalise them against the political authority in Ghana”.
“In furtherance of this scheme, Dr Mac-Palm contracted one Mr Ezor from Alavanyo to produce locally made weapons and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for the operation. In July 2019, Mr Ezor set up a workshop in a container, originally used as an X-Ray laboratory, at the premises of Citadel Hospital, and started producing the weapons and IEDs in-house.
“On 10 September 2019, Dr Mac-Palm and Mr Ezor procured from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, some essential chemicals to be mixed with gun powder, stone chippings, surgical needles and powdered pepper for their operations. He also contracted a worker at the Base Workshop in Burma Camp to supply 10 AK-47 rifles. He made an advance payment of GHS7,000.00.
“On Thursday, 19 September 2019, at about 2300 hours, still under surveillance, Dr Mac-Palm, Mr Ezor, and one soldier went to an area close to the Laboma Beach to test fire some of the locally-manufactured weapons”, the minister’s statement said.
At a press conference on Thursday, 26 September 2019, Mr Hadzide said: “The government has put out enough information about surveillance, over a year’s surveillance on Dr Fredrick Yao Mac-Palm and his accomplices, who have been acting and plotting to cause insecurity and to also target the presidency”.
“Like has been announced, this has been sustained surveillance, including, sometimes, even video and audio recording and, so, we want to discourage, strongly, attempts by sections of our population, especially on social media and even sometimes in traditional media by self-acclaimed security and intelligence experts to attempt to ridicule what information government has put out.
“This is a result of sustained surveillance and it is, indeed, true that the X-ray container at the Citadel Hospital belonging to Dr Mac-Palm had been turned into a weapon manufacturing facility. Several improvised explosive devices were manufactured there. It is true that chemicals were purchased from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for the manufacture of these devices. It is true that Dr Mac-Palm made contact with a gentleman who works at the base workshop at the Burma Camp often.”