The medical officer accused of being the mastermind of a coup plot, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, has said his aim was to embark on demonstrations against bad governance, and that he never planned any coup or even thought of planning a coup.
He told the Kaneshie District Court that he formed the group, Take Action Ghana (TAG), to highlight inequalities in the country, as well as the bad governance which he said had engulfed the country throughout the Fourth Republic (from 1992 to present).
Dr Mac-Palm was addressing the court after he had been given the opportunity to speak as part of his committal proceedings yesterday.
It was his first public utterance since he and nine other alleged members of TAG were arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the government.
Politicians afraid of TAG
He said TAG decided to embark on a demonstration after the violence that rocked the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in January last year.
“Personally, I thought what was going on in this country politically was detrimental to the lives of people,” he said.
He accused the political class of tagging him as a coup plotter and also branding TAG as a destabilising force due to the massive impact the group had.
“We never discussed anything about coups. TAG’s aims, objectives, mission and vision brought complete fear to the powers that be and so they decided to turn around to cripple the organisation and cripple me as well,” he told the court.
Apart from Dr Mac-Palm, the other nine accused persons, including a senior military officer, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, and a senior police officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo, said they were innocent and denied planning any coup.
While Col Gameli said the allegations levelled against him were an orchestration to vilify and victimise him because of his stance against some rot in the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), ACP Dr Agordzo described them as an attempt to destroy his career and gag him.
Meanwhile, after the committal proceedings, which lasted about eight hours, the district court committed the 10 accused persons to stand trial at the High Court.
The court, presided over by Mrs Eleanor Kakra Barnes Botchway, held that the 10 had a case to answer at the High Court.
“The evidence against the accused persons is overwhelming and I believe they have a case to answer at the High Court,” she ruled.
The 10 indicted to stand trial are Dr Mac-Palm; Donyo Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith, and Bright Alan Debrah, a fleet manager.
The rest are Col Gameli, ACP Dr Agordzo, Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) Sylvester Akanpewon, L/Cpl Ali Solomon and Johannes Zikpi, a civilian employee of the GAF.
The magistrate ordered them to appear before the High Court on April 6 to answer the charges levelled against them.
She also remanded all of them, with the exception of Col Gameli, ACP Dr Agordzo and Warrant Officer Dekuwine, in prison custody.
ACP Dr Agordzo is already on bail.
The court remanded Col Gameli and Warrant Officer Dekuwine in military custody.
During the committal proceedings, the prosecutor, Ms Hilda Craig, a Senior State Attorney, told the court that the state would call 19 witnesses and also present 113 exhibits as evidence to prove its case at the trial.
Dr Mac-Palm, Kafui, Debrah, Dekuwine, Abubakar, L/Cpl Akanpewon and Zikpi have been charged with conspiracy to commit treason felony and treason felony, while Dr Mac-Palm and Kafui have been separately charged with conspiracy to possess explosives and ammunition without lawful excuse and possession of explosives and ammunition without lawful excuse.
Col. Gameli and ACP Dr Agordzo have been charged with abetment to treason felony.
Alleged killing of President
Presenting the facts of the case, Ms Craig said TAG plotted to destabilise the country and overthrow the government.
The prosecution claimed that, as part of the plot, Dr Mac-Palm, who is accused of being the mastermind of the plot, Kafui and Debrah planned on kidnapping the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief of the Defence Staff and also force the President to announce his overthrow.
“Again, there were discussions on whether or not to kill the President in the process of overthrowing the government,” she said.
The prosecutor added that in June 2018, the security agencies picked up intelligence that the accused persons, under the auspices of TAG, had planned to overthrow and take over the government.
According to her, as part of the plan, Col. Gameli recruited Zikpi, who was a signal specialist with the GAF, to help jam the radio signals of the National Communications Authority.
TAG, she said, planned to jam all radio stations, with the exception of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.
The prosecutor said in furtherance of the plot, Dr Mac-Palm invited Kafui, who was a blacksmith at Alavanyo, to Accra to manufacture explosives and pistols for TAG.
With regard to ACP Dr Agordzo, she said he donated GH¢2,000 to TAG to aid its cause and also drafted a speech for Dr Mac-Palm to be read at the planned demonstration by TAG.