Colonel Isaac Amponsah, in charge of the Military Academy Training School, one of the first witnesses in the alleged treason trial involving Dr Frederick Mac Palm, Chief Executive, Citadel Hospital, and nine others, appeared in Court on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Colonel Amponsah said his boss, Major General M.P. Andoh, Director General of Defense Intelligence, informed him on June 14, 2018, that a soldier at the training school, Headquarters, had been approached by the then Staff Sergeant Esther Saan, now Warrant Officer Class Two (WOII), an accused person in the alleged treason a.k.a Mama “G” to recruit some people in an operation to overthrow the government.
The Director-General added that Dr Frederick Mac Palm, financier of the offence, together with Bright Allan Debrah, freight forwarder, both accused persons, had already met some of the soldiers and their next meeting was on June 22, 2018, at the Next Door Beach Resort, he said in his evidence-in-chief.
He said he called Corporal Awarf Sule, now Sergeant, for briefing and after that Major General Andoh asked that a recording device be released for the subsequent meetings, adding that afterwards, he brought both the video and audio recordings to the witness for assessment (download and access content).
Colonel Amponsah realised that the first video covered midway of the event but the audio had a completed version and he mentioned the attendees as Corporal Abubakar Seidu Sadiq, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, WOII Esther, Lance Corporal Sylvester Akanpewu as well as other soldiers chaired by Debrah.
Debrah was heard convincing the soldiers on the need to overthrow government due to corruption including the alleged GEEDA and SUBA scandals which he said NPP was not dealing with as it was talking about when in opposition, stating that both NDC and NPP were the same.
The Director of Operational Intelligence of the Defense Intelligence Department, Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Colonel Amponsah said Debrah also told the soldiers that what they were about to do was for their children and not for themselves as they were fortunate to be enrolled as soldiers and that their children might not have the same opportunity.
“If nothing was done, it would be disastrous and people would start drinking water like this,” pointing to certain water which was not visible in the audio, adding that many thought it was impossible to overthrow a government because there were so many radio stations but on that day, all the stations would be jammed, all that one would hear is “shhhhhhhhhh,” Debrah was heard making the sound.
Witness told the Court that a soldier asked about their security and Debrah told them that they would be given insurance which would be taken care of by their “big men”.
He also suggested on another meeting that they shared their phone contact so they would communicate but another put in that it could be tapped so they should rather use Gota.
Other meetings also discussed the allowances they would take, the personnel to be used, where WOII Esther at a point stated that President Akufo-Addo should be eliminated, with a sketch indicating areas to be blocked on the D-day; Ammunition Depot Base (BAD),Base Ordinance Depot (BOD), 66 Artillery Regiment in Ho, the Police Headquarters, Police Training School, Air Force Base-Burma Camp, Recce Regiment, roads from Tema to Accra, Kumasi to Accra, Takoradi to Accra and Jubilee House.
The Court also heard that all their meetings between June 22, 2018, and September 19, 2019, were recorded on video and audio, stating that Debrah requested that the number of personnel for each blockade should be added to the sketch and Debrah gave Sergeant Awarf and WOII Esther GH¢50.00 each and Esther requested that the other soldiers be taken care of. Debrah promised that when they got to the Jubilee House, money would not be a problem.
The witness said the meetings which were mostly held at the Beach Resort and at Osu and Teshie, at a drinking spot, captured Sergeant Awarf and Debrah disagreeing on the number of soldiers to carry out the operation and Dr Mac Palm told them that bringing in too many people would lead to information leakage.
He said according to the recordings, they realised that the BNI now NIB personnel had infiltrated their camp, so they (one Dr Sam in the U.S and Dr Mac Palm) inaugurated the “Take Action Group,” NGO, on August 4, 2018, to mobilise support from second cycle schools and tertiary institutions.
The use of military personnel was also suspended due to the fact that Dr Mac Palm found out that it would be difficult to get the support of senior officers as they said it would affect their career, explaining that they were ready to change the government but not through such an operation.
Witness said during another meeting, Debrah told Sergeant Awarf that the President should be captured and made to sign his resignation whilst Awarf said if that was done, he would fight back so they should kill him, stressing that when all these records were sent to National Security, they wanted to arrest the accused but did not have enough evidence.
He said a meeting held by Dr Mac Palm, Debrah and Sergeant Awarf at the Citadel Hospital, spoke of how to acquire weapons and Awarf proposed that they could get some from Bawku between GHS8,000.00 and GHS10,000.00, Dr Mac Palm said they should attack “GAF Ammunition Section,” which witness said does not exist.
Mac Palm later introduced Donyo Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith and an accused, to Awarf that Donyo was an expert in weapon manufacturing and that they would be working together, they discussed the provision of improvised explosives (bombs) and locally made pistols where Mac Palm promised to add anaesthetics (gas substance) to the gun powder so that those who inhaled would fall asleep.
The accused persons, according to the recordings, said they decided to look for an occasion where there would be the President, Vice-President and the Chief of Defense Staff to carry-out the plan, adding that they would also “bomb” the South Africans whom he (Mac Palm) claimed were allegedly training NPP vigilante group.
Dr Mac Palm converted his X-Ray laboratory into a weapon making workshop where Donyo set up his working tools and manufactured items seized upon their arrest including five locally made pistols, 22 bombs, three smoked grenades, three locally-made pistol barrels and 63 live pistol ammunitions.
Mac Palm, Donyo and Awarf on September 19, 2019, at about 2300 hours, went to the LABOMA Beach to test the weapons but they were arrested, Colonel Amponsah added.
Dr Mac Palm, Donyo, Debrah, ACP Benjamin Korsi Agordzo, WOll Saan, Colonel Samuel Kojo Gameli, Corporal Sadiq, Lance Corporal Ali, Lance Corporal Akanpewu and Johannes Zipkui, a civilian staff at GAF are facing charges ranging from conspiracy to commit high treason, treason and abetment but have all denied the offences and they are to remain on their various former bail.
They are being tried by a three-member panel of judges: Justice Hafisata Amaleboba, Justice George Oppong, and Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, presiding.