Justice Stephen Oppong, one of the three members of the panel of judges trying the alleged coup plotters, has urged the accused persons to disabuse their minds that the court was working against them.
According to him, the panel was only there to do its job, therefore, the accused persons should desist from portraying that the judges were against them.
His comment follows a request by two of the accused persons – Lance Corporal Ali Solomon and Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon – that they wanted to testify in the Buli language.
The panel, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, yesterday declined the request, explaining that they did not indicate that when their pleas were being taken.
The trial High Court indicated that it was only Bright Alan Debrah and Kafui Donya who requested for their plea to be taken in Twi and Ewe respectively, and the rest in English.
Hitherto, LAC Ali Solomon (A8) and Cpl Sylvester Akanpewon (A9) had insisted that they wanted to testify in Buli, and even had a discussion with their counsel.
It was at this instance that His Lordship Oppong told the accused persons: “You people want to portray we are against you. We are only doing our job.”
LAC Ali Solomon and Cpl Sylvester Akanpewon are standing trial with eight others, of which one, Dr. Frederick MacPalm (A1), is now deceased.
The other accused persons are Donya Kafui aka Ezor (A2), Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu aka Bright Alan Yeboah aka BB (A3), Johannes Zikpi (A4), Col. Samuel Kodzo Gameli (A5), WOII Esther Saan Dekuwine (A6), Corporal (Cpl) Seidu Abubaka (A7) and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Benjamin Kwasi Agordzo (A10).
Second accused (A2) opens defence
Kafui Donya alias Ezor has told the court that he was invited to Accra to repair guns and manufacture pipes for musketry by the prosecution third witness (PW3), Sergeant Award Sulley.
He said Sergeant Awarf Sulley told him that the guns were for the Military High Command.
According to him, it was PW3 who also brought two guns to be test fired with him and the late Dr. MacPalm for which they were arrested and the guns seized.
As a result, he indicated in his evidence-in-chief, led by the court, because his counsel was not present, that the guns he repaired and the pipes for musketry were not for the purpose of committing a crime.
Prior to giving his evidence-in-chief, Her Ladyship Asare-Botwe explained the options available to him as an accused person – that by law Ezor was not under any obligation to say anything or remain silent to give an unsworn statement, in which the prosecution would not ask questions, and/or give a statement on an oath, and for which all the other lawyers and the prosecution would be free to cross-examination him.
A2 chose the last option – to give a statement on oath – to open his defence.
The court also explained to the other accused persons, whose counsel were not present at the court due to various reasons, that per the court practice direction, any lawyer who absents him/herself, his/her client would go on to conduct his own cross-examination.
On these bases, the accused persons – Cpl Seidu Abubaka, LAC Ali Solomon Cpl Sylvester Akanpewon and ACP Benjamin Kwasi Agordzo (A10) – without legal representation were asked by the court to conduct their own cross-examinations.
The following was how the court led A2 to give his testimony:
Q. Can you repeat your name to the court?
A. My name is Kafui Donya.
Q. Do you have any other name?
Q. Where do you live?
Q. What work do you do?
A. I’m a welder, steel bender and blacksmith.
Q. On the 30 January, 2023, a witness statement was taken on your behalf.
Q. Kindly have a look?
A. Yes it is my witness statement.
A2 reading his witness statement: I’m a farmer and a blacksmith. I was nominated the Best Farmer in 2011 in Hohoe Municipality. Because of my expertise I render wielding services… In July 2019, I had a call from a soldier in Accra… Dr. Sulley. He picked me up at 37 bus stops and he took me to Dr. MacPalm’s house. It was when I got there that Sulley Awarf informed me to repair some guns for him.
Sulley Awarf asked that I lodged with him at Burma Camp, but I declined, and I was taken to the Citadel Clinic… I started cutting the pipes for the musketry and Sulley Awarf also brought me some guns to repair. He said it was for the Military High Command. In September… Sulley Awarf brought two guns to test fire with Dr. MacPalm.
Suley fired the guns and we were arrested by the military and the guns were seized… I never heard of Sulley Awarf again… I have not manufactured any weapons for the purpose to commit [a] crime.
Cross-examination by Rita Kutin Ali, counsel for A3
Q. Kafui, do you know A3, in this matter Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu?
Q. Mr. Kafui, can you tell the court how you know Mr. Alan Deborah?
A. I got to know A3, Mr. Bright Alan, when Sulley took me to Dr. MacPalm’s house.
Q. If I understand you, the first time you met A3 was in A1’s house. Is that correct?
A. That is so.
Q. Do you remember the date you met A3 in A1’s house?
A. I don’t recollect the exact date, but it was a Sunday.
A. So on that Sunday, when you met A3 in A1’s house, who else was there at A1’s house?
A. We were only four people there.
Q. Mr. Kafui, can you name these people in the house?
A. Sulley, Dr. MacPalm and Alan Debrah and myself.
Q. When you met that Sunday at A1’s house, did A3 discuss with you any plan regarding overthrowing the government?
A. No my lady.
Q. Was that the only time you met A3 in Accra when you arrived?
A. I met him twice.
Q. When was the second time you met A3?
A. I’ve forgotten the exact date, but I met him again when he visited the hospital.
Q. When you say hospital, which hospital are you referring to?
A. Dr. MacPalm’s hospital.
Q. When you met A3 for the second time, did he discuss plans with you to overthrow the government?
A. Did A3 discuss with you plans of producing weapons which were going to be used to overthrow the government?
A4 to A10, no cross-examination
Cross-examination by Prosecution
Q. Mr. Ezor, you have stated in your evidence-in-chief that you are a blacksmith and a welder?
Q. Can you tell the court how long you have done this work?
A. For about 30 years.
Q. Who do you work with?
A. When I get jobs that are intensive and require more labour, I get people to help me.
Q. So do you work alone?
Q. How often do you get jobs outside Alavayo?
A. Many times.
Q. So what do you normally do?
A. Mostly I travel to do steel bending works.
Q. Now you have said you travel a lot. Can you tell the court which part of Ghana you have traveled to do the steel bending work?
A. I travel to Kpeve, Ho, Juapong and Accra.
Q. In your evidence-in-chief, you talk about coming to Accra to repair guns, and also for funeral musketry. How many times you have traveled to Accra to repair guns and pipes for funeral musketry.
A. As I previously mentioned, I travel to other places to do steel bending works.
Q. You stated that you came to Accra to repair guns and cut pipes for funeral musketry?
A. That was the first time I did such a job.
Q. As a blacksmith in Alavayo do you manufacture guns and pipes for musketry?
A. I don’t manufacture guns, but I repair them. I repair locally manufactured gun and single bar (barrel).
Q. You also talk about funeral musketry, which kind of funeral musketry guns do you manufacture?
A. My lady, with funeral musketry we cut the pipes by one foot.
Q. And what do you normally put in the pipes?
A. Only gun powder.
Q. Now you also stated that PW3 was the one who called you and invited you to Accra to work for him. Is that correct?
Q. That is not true, it was rather Dr. MacPalm who invited you to work for him?
A. No, my lady.