“It is all a plot,” Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, the medical practitioner who has been charged with two others for illegal possession of arms, shouted on top of his voice at the precincts of the Kaneshie District Court yesterday.
While handcuffed and being escorted into a waiting pick-up vehicle by security personnel, he turned briefly to his son, whom he addressed as Junior, and screamed out the five-word statement.
The medical doctor was remanded in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) with the two others by the court.
Dr Mac-Palm, together with Donya Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith, and Bright Allan Debrah Ofosu, a freight manager, have been jointly charged for conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, manufacturing of arms and ammunition and possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition without lawful authority.
Kafui and Mac-Palm were slapped with two extra charges — while Kafui faces additional charges of manufacturing six pistols and 22 explosives, Mac-Palm faces a further charge of possessing 22 explosives, six pistols and three hand grenades without lawful authority.
Their pleas were not taken and they will reappear in court on October 9, 2019.
An alleged accomplice, a man identified only as Suley, is said to be on the run.
The court presided over by Ms Rosemond Dodua Agyiri, remanded the three persons after their charges had been read to them and translated to them in two local languages of their preference.
While Kafui had his charges translated into Ewe, Debrah’s were translated into Twi.
Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Sylvester Asare told the court that the accused persons were arrested over the weekend and pleaded with the court to remand them in the custody of the BNI to enable the police to continue with their investigations.
He explained to the court that the BNI was the lead investigating agency in the matter and that the closeness of the accused persons to the bureau would facilitate the work of the bureau and assured the court that the accused would be easily accessed by their families and lawyers.
However, lawyers for the accused persons, Victor Kwadjoga Adawuga, Ivan Yao Aklorboto and Eric Atiaku, disagreed with the prosecutor and pleaded with the court to grant their clients bail.
Arguing his case, Mr Adawuga prayed the court not to grant the wish of the prosecution by remanding his clients in police custody, since Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution provided that persons arrested must be put before court within 48 hours, “and the court, in its own wisdom, decides, based on the facts, to remand the accused persons or not”.
The magistrate asked that the facts sheet, which was not read in the court, be amended, after stating that some of the charges were beyond her jurisdiction.
She also directed that the family members of the accused persons be allowed access to them between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., while their lawyers could visit them between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., any day within the two-week period that they would be in the custody of the BNI.
The accused persons arrived at the court about 1:20 p.m., with two of them, Kafui and Ofosu, handcuffed together, while Mac-Palm had both hands in cuffs.
The proceedings lasted a little over an hour.
Before their arrival, some of their family members and some politicians, including Mr Sylvester Mensah, a former presidential aspirant of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Ms Dela Sowah, the NDC Member of Parliament for Kpando, were at the court.
Charges to be amended
Meanwhile, the government has stated that the three persons could not be charged with treason yesterday because the courts were on vacation.
A government source told the Daily Graphic yesterday that prosecutors could only get a district court, which could not handle a charge of treason.
“They have been charged with a basic offence which allows them to be remanded while investigations continue. The charge sheet is to be amended when the courts resume,” it said.
Although the facts of the case were not read in court, a government press statement on Monday, September 23, 2019, said a joint security operation of personnel drawn from Defence Intelligence, Police CID and the BNI conducted a successful operation which led to the arrest of the three persons and the retrieval of several arms, explosive devices and ammunition from locations in Accra.
It explained that surveillance on the activities of the persons involved commenced in June 2018 when Dr Mac-Palm and Ofosu started organising a series of meetings at the Next Door Beach Resort, Teshie, and other locations in Accra, in furtherance of their objectives.