Court discharges 20 alleged secessionists, one still in custody

Twenty out 21 persons alleged to be have been recruited into the so-called military wing of the Western Togoland Secessionist group  at Dzodze were on Wednesday discharged by an Accra Circuit Court.

This follows submissions by the state led by Chief Inspector Simon Apiosornu that the 20 persons were “victims of circumstances,” and the Police have no evidence against them.

The court therefore struck out the charges preferred against them and discharged them accordingly.

They are: Justine Abotsi, a Pupil Teacher; Joshua Lawoe, motor rider; Patrick Doe-Dzogbeta, repairer; Solomon Normeshie, unemployed; Moses Dakpenese, driver; Raymond Amemo, glass fabricator; Justice Kumasbor, steel bender; Christian Agbeko, unemployed; Emmanuel Tannor, Salesman; and William Ahiamadi an electrician.

The rest are Michael Dakpense, motor rider; Enos Agbanyo, mason; Francis Sakyi, mason; Kwame Asorgba, unemployed; Devine Bedzrah, unemployed; Samuel Kay Suglo; and Vincent Abosti, fishermen; Kofi Atsu, Teacher; Estse Borbor, mason; and Julius Sah a Lotto Agent.

However Anthony Dormekpo, a driver from Akatsi who was said to have harboured some of the victims before transporting them to the ‘military ground’ at Dzodze is now being held.

Dormekpo is on charges such as attend a meeting of a prohibited organization namely Western Togoland organization and to participate in campaign of a prohibited organization namely Western Togoland.

Dormekpo has denied the charges and the court presided over by Mrs Ellen Ofei Ayeh remanded him into Police custody pending further investigations.

According to the court it had considered the punishment and severity of the offence and has given the prosecution 14 days to file the necessary documents to be relied upon for the trial and for further directions.

Defence Counsel, Mr George Asamani who requested for bail for the accused is expected to repeat his application on March 19 as his earlier application was turned down by the court.

Mr Asamani held that his client would not abscond from the jurisdiction that he has people of substance who were ready to stand surety for him when admitted to bail.

According to defence counsel, the essence of bail was to ensure that the accused appeared at all times before the court pending the final determination of the trial.

He prayed the court to exercise its discretion by admitting his client to bail.

Chief Inspector Apoisornu however disagreed with defence counsel in the granting of bail saying the matter boarded on national security and taking a look at the nature of the offence and the punishment, when admitted to bail, Dormekpo would not appear to stand trial.

Prosecution said Dormekpo resides at Akatsi in the Volta Region and on Monday February 17, this year, personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) following several days of intelligence gathering on the activities of the so-called Western Togoland Secessionists group, a prohibited organization, arrested the accused and 20 others at Dzodze in the Ketu North Municipality of the Volta Region.

Prosecution said the 20 persons including a female have been recruited into the Military Wing of the group.

According to prosecution, the accused who is a member of the group together with others now at large recruited the 20 individuals under the guise of protocol enlistment into the Ghana Armed Forces, whiles others were recruited to work in a farm allegedly owned by a certain Whiteman.

Prosecution said the individuals were made to pay GH¢400.00 and GH¢800.00 as registration fees through a mobile money (MoMo) number in the name of Samuel Gafa currently on the run while others paid cash.

The Prosecution said these individuals were made to assemble at Dodze and the accused accommodated five of them at his home at Akatsi for a week before transporting them to Dzodze en-route to the training camp of the Western Togoland guerilla army to commence training in a forest at Dzodze.

During investigations, it was revealed that the 20 recruits arrested were deceived into believing that they were being recruited into the Ghana Armed Forces and also to work on a farm.

Prosecution said investigations were on going.

Source: GNA

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