Shortly after his appearance at a Kaneshie Magistrate Court in Accra yesterday over his alleged involvement in a coup plot, ACP/Dr. Benjamin Agordzo hosted a group of media persons and others in a show of dramatised defiance with words like “they cannot break me down. I am as strong as anything.”
Donning his UN regulation blue beret, he started his brief tirade with reference to a WhatsApp chat the contents of which he said was unrelated to the charge levelled against him.
The WhatsApp was a pointer to a group chat, part of a series of exhibits investigators are working in relation to the coup plot.
“…WhatsApp group platform which is unrelated to any alleged coup. Nobody should bog me down. I am as strong as anything. I will stand for this till the end. They cannot break me down. Thank you very much for your support,” those were the words of the suspect as the security operatives who appeared to have allowed him the brief moments to speak to the media whisked him away.
For a man noted for his public space commentaries about the police institution and political issues, the brief moment he had was just enough to go on his usual tangent.
His arrest was said to have occurred shortly after his return from a UN mission hence his appearance in the blue beret and not a Ghana Police Service headgear.
He was remanded by the District Court presided over by Magistrate Eleanor Kakra Barnes Botchway, in connection with the alleged plot to destabilise the country and overthrow the government.
He is alleged to have incited members of a non-governmental organisation, ‘Take Action Ghana’ (TAG), to demonstrate against the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government and subsequently overthrow it as he allegedly said it is within their right to do so.
Apart from his alleged involvement in the planning of the said demonstration, ACP Agordzo is said to have assisted the group with various sums of money to facilitate the organisation of the intended demonstration and overthrow.
ACP Agordzo, according to the BNI, also drafted a speech to be delivered on the day of the demonstration and the subsequent overthrow of government.
The top police officer is the latest person to be arrested in connection with the coup attempt targeted at the Jubilee House.
He has been charged with one count of abetment to commit crime, namely treason felony.
His lawyer, Hamdiya Mohammed, raised a preliminary objection challenging the propriety of the charges being put before the Magistrate Court.
According to her, ACP Agordzo has been charged with a first degree felony and the lower court does not have jurisdiction to hear such matters as it can neither remand nor grant bail to an accused person in such matters.
She quoted Article 14 Clause 3 of the 1992 Constitution as well as sections of the criminal and other offenses Act (Act 30) to prove the inability of the Magistrate Court to entertain such matters.
She argued that the prosecution intentionally sent ACP Agordzo to the District Court knowing that it does not have jurisdiction – just to delay bail for her client.
“Just because this has been done in the past does not mean that it is the right procedure to follow,” Ms. Mohammed added.
She, therefore, implored the court to decline jurisdiction but in case it is not inclined to do so, then the matter should be set down for their request to be referred to the Supreme Court for constitutional interpretation.
The preliminary objection was opposed by the prosecution led by ASP Sylvester Asare who argued that the constitutional provision as well as sections of the criminal and other procedure Act that the defence lawyer relied on did not suggest anywhere that the court does not have jurisdiction over the matter.
According to him, the District Court is the first court of instance in all indictable cases as it is the court where the committal proceedings are held before the accused person is committed for trial at the High Court.
He, therefore, pleaded with the court to remand the accused person to assist in investigation which is almost concluded.
The presiding magistrate, after listening to the arguments, stated that she would not rush into making a decision and subsequently ordered that the accused be remanded while she gives her ruling on Friday, November 8, 2019.
There was drama on the premise of the court yesterday as the family and friends of the police officer virtually took over the court.
The entire courtroom was packed and some lawyers and police prosecutors had to stand throughout the proceedings.
The entire corridor of the court was equally congested as many people trooped in to watch the proceedings.
Dr. Agordzo was later engulfed by family, friends, observers, as well as journalists as he declared his ‘innocence’, saying he would be vindicated eventually.