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Six members of Western Togoland Foundation jailed for involvement in secessionist activities

November 3, 2023
Six members of Western Togoland Foundation jailed for involvement in secessionist activities

Six members of the Foundation have been sentenced to various jail terms and fines for their roles in activities related to the secessionist movement in the Volta, , and Northern regions of Ghana.

The accused were involved in road blockades and attacks on police stations in Sogakope, Aveyime, and Mepe on September 25, 2020, as part of efforts to secede parts of the regions from Ghana.

The accused, who in the course of the trial were ten, pleaded not guilty to charges of attending a meeting and being members of a prohibited organization. At the end of the trial, the court acquitted and discharged four of the accused persons and convicted the other six.

They were arraigned for breaching sections of the Prohibited Organisations Act 1976, (SMCD 20). The Act mandates the judge to either impose a jail term to a maximum of five years or a maximum fine of 1000 penalty units or both if one is convicted under the Act.

During the trial, the lawyers of the six convicts prayed to the court to temper justice with mercy and institute a fine as a punishment rather than a custodial sentence.

The lawyer for the third accused person, Godfred Gabriel Govina, prayed to the court to give a fine to his client as he is a first-time offender and breadwinner of his family.

The lawyer noted that the convict is a husband to two wives with nine children and any further incarceration will greatly affect the family.

Justice Mary Yanzuh, however, convicted A3 to 3 years in prison and to pay a fine of 300 penalty units after considering Gabriel Govina's status as a retired teacher. The judge indicated that he ought to have known better due to his status.

For A4, Benjamin Gbadago, the court convicted him to 24 months in prison and to also pay a fine of 200 penalty units. He was convicted for being a member of the prohibited Western Togoland Restoration Front and Homeland Study Foundation.

His lawyers had pleaded for a non-custodial sentence on the grounds that his health was not in good condition.

Cephas Zoddanu, the seventh accused person convicted of four counts of being a member of a prohibited organization, attending meetings of a prohibited organization, and accepting contributions on behalf of a prohibited organization, was convicted to prison for three years and to pay a fine of 200 penalty units.

Lawyers for A8, Richard Doglo Ametepe, made a passionate appeal for a fine to be imposed on him rather than a custodial sentence. His lawyers urged the court to consider the fact that he collapsed in court when the conviction was given.

They also noted that since he has spent about three years in jail and the maximum sentence for the offence was five years, a fine be imposed. Justice Mary Yanzuh, however, imposed a custodial sentence of three years and a fine of 200 penalty units.

The ninth accused person, known in private life as Cosmos Havor but is a chief in the traditional area Afife under the stool name Togbe Aszaklo, was convicted for attending meetings and participating in the campaign of a prohibited organization.

He is said to have participated in the event by the Western Togoland restoration front on September 1, 2020, where the place was declared an independent state.

Upon conviction, his lawyers prayed the court to consider his age, which is 80, and the fact that he is a first-time offender.

The court, despite noting that the actions of the Chief were grave because of his status, imposed what the judge believed to be a lenient term of 24 months in prison and 400 penalty units fine because of the age and health of the convict.

The tenth convict, Vincent Ramsayer Atsu-Galey, was convicted to six months in prison.

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