The accused, Esther Saan
The only woman among the 10 people being tried for allegedly attempting to stage a coup d’etat and overthrow the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, suggested that they should eliminate President Akufo-Addo when he is finally captured.
The Director in charge of Operational Intelligence at the Defence Intelligence Department of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel Isaac Amponsah, who is the prosecution’s first witness, insisted under cross-examination that WO II Esther Saan, aka Mama Gee, was captured on an audio recording suggesting that the President needed to be eliminated.
Ziyerli Agbambila, a lawyer for the accused person, in his cross-examination sought to challenge the evidence-in-chief of the witness that WO II Esther Saan suggested that the President be eliminated but the witness insisted that she did and said “she was captured on audio and there was a witness at the meeting too.”
The lawyer then suggested to the witness that there is nothing to show that the accused person said such a thing, but Col. Amponsah insisted that “as the Director of Operational Intelligence, I don’t go to the field to collect information so the information that I get or what I have is what is brought to me by my operatives or informants and my role is to assess the value of the information whether it is credible or not credible so there is no way I will be at the meeting to hear her mention those words.”
Evidence In Chief
The official trial of the ‘coup plotters’ commenced last Tuesday at an Accra High Court where Colonel Isaac Amponsah testified as the PW1.
Led in his evidence in chief by the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, the witness had told the court about the ‘chilling’ strategies of the accused person, including how they intended to capture the President, the Vice President and some officials of government as part of their plan to overthrow government.
The NPP government had been formed in 2017 after winning the crucial 2016 general election and was barely two years into its administration when the accused persons started planning to overthrow it.
The witness also told the court about how the accused persons planned among other things, to take over some key military installations in the country, including artillery regiments and ammunition depots.
The court also heard how a military officer infiltrated the camp of the accused persons and successfully recorded their meetings both in video and audio forms.
He had told the court that WO II Esther Saan, who was at meeting held on July 7, 2018 and attended by Bright Alan Debrah and Corporal Awarf Sule, suggested that they needed to eliminate the President and Awarf responded that ‘yes, that is the work we are doing.’
Her lawyer sought to discredit this evidence by the witness, stating that his client never said such a thing.
Even when the witness insisted that the accused actually made the statement and there was an audio recording and a witness to prove she made the statement, the lawyer maintained it was not true.
Counsel then asked the witness if he was the one who interpreted ‘President’ to mean Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo or he heard the accused saying to anyone that they needed to eliminate the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“Did you hear A6 (Esther Saan) saying to anybody that they should eliminate President Nana Akufo-Addo?” the lawyer asked, and the witness responded “she mentioned his name Akufo-Addo.”
Give And Take
Lawyer (Ziyerli Agbambila): So you interpreted Akufo-Addo to mean the President of the Republic. Is that right?
Witness (Col. Isaac Amponsah): That is correct, based on the context of the discussion.
Lawyer: Apart from this claim saying that President Akufo-Addo should be eliminated, did you hear her say anything about eliminate, killing or coup or anything violent in your said audio or videos.
Witness: I didn’t hear her use the word coup in the conversation. She contributed to the areas that needed to be blocked on the D-day.
Lawyer: With regards to the plan, the roads to be blocked and military installations to be targeted, nowhere in your evidence did you mention A6 (Esther Saan) as a contributor. Is that correct?
Witness: My Lord, that is not correct.
Lawyer: I am putting it to you that it is not in your evidence that A6 participated in any discussion about planning or military installations to be targeted.
Witness: My Lord, that is not true. I indicate that on July 7, 2018, A6 and Awarf and Mr. Allan Debrah met at Next Door Beach Resort and on that day they were waiting for Akanpewon (another accused) to come. If you listen to the audio they kept on calling him. Since he didn’t show up they proceeded with their meeting and closed. So it is not true that A6 did not make any contribution. She indicated that the commanding officer of the Base Ammunition Depot was her man so she could get the map of the Base Ammunition Depot.
Counsel: With regards to the plan, the roads to be blocked and military installations to be targeted, nowhere in your evidence did you mention A6 as a contributor. Is that correct?
Witness: My lord that is not correct.
Counsel: I am putting it to you that if you had seen any video recording or heard any audio recording where A6 is reported to be partaking in any discussions bordering on any attempts to overthrow the Constitution or the Government of Ghana, same are doctored and not accurate.
Witness: My lord, that is not true. As I stated, the information were gathered not only from one source. Some of the audios and videos were gathered by the BNI.
Hearing continues on June 14, 2021.