In a landmark judgment, the High Court has convicted six individuals accused of plotting a coup in Ghana. The verdict was delivered on Wednesday, following a trial that began on June 8, 2021, and saw the prosecution close its case on July 12, 2022.
The convicted individuals, comprising three civilians and three soldiers, were found guilty of counts of conspiracy to commit high treason and committing high treason. Donya Kafui, also known as Ezor (a blacksmith), Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu (a fleet manager), and Johannes Zikpi (a civilian employee of the Ghana Armed Forces) were convicted of conspiracy to commit treason and treason. The three soldiers—Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, and Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon—were found guilty of conspiracy to commit high treason.
The judgment also revealed that the Court had acquitted Assistant Commissioner of Police Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, and one other junior military officer, Corporal Seidu Abubakar. The acquitted individuals were initially charged with abetment to high treason.
The six convicted individuals have been sentenced to death by hanging, marking a severe penalty for their involvement in the alleged coup plot. The verdict follows the fixed judgment date of November 22, 2023, after all parties involved had submitted their respective written submissions.
The accused individuals faced various charges, including conspiracy to high treason, abetment to high treason, and high treason. Notably, Dr. Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, the Chief Executive Officer of Citadel Hospital, was among the accused, but his passing during the trial led to the deletion of his evidence from the records.
The prosecution, led by Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, included key figures from the AG's Department, such as Director of Public Prosecution Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa and Principal State Attorney Hilda Craig. On the defense side, various lawyers represented the accused individuals, including Rita Akukunti Ali, Victor Kodjogah Adawudu, Osei Kwabena, Linda Elikem Mensah, Anthony Lartey, Eric Kpongo, Lamptiig Apanga, Matthias Yir-Eru, Kormivi Dzotsi, Martin Kpebu, Ephraim A. Vordoagu, and Maud Opoku.
The three-member panel of judges overseeing the case consisted of Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, Justice Hafisata Amaleboba, and Justice Stephen Oppong, all of whom are Justices of the Court of Appeal sitting as additional High Court judges, with Justice Asare-Botwe serving as the President of the panel.
The trial featured 13 witnesses, including seven soldiers, with Col. Isaac Amponsah, Director of Operational Intelligence at the Defence Intelligence Unit of the Ghana Armed Forces, serving as the First Prosecution Witness. The prosecution's decision to close its case after presenting these witnesses marked a pivotal moment in the trial.