“Volta secessionists” discharged and cautioned

Samuel Akumatey, GNA

Ho, July 20, GNA – A
Ho High Court presided over by Justice Nicholas Charles Agbevor has discharged
leaders of a Volta secessionists’ group charged with treason, and ordered them
to sign a bond to be good behaviour with two sureties each for six months.

Mr Kormi Kudzordzi,
90, leader of the group, Divine Odonkor, 65, and Martin Agbenu, 57 were
arrested on March 7, 2017 for distributing branded T-shirts delimiting a part
of Ghana and declaring independence for a “Western Togoland”.

They were arraigned
before the court on March 9 and granted bail of GHC 50,000 with two sureties

Mr Simon Adatsi,
Regional State Attorney, at the hearing of the case on Wednesday, told the
court that the Attorney General and Minister for Justice had advised that
earlier charges of conspiracy be substituted with a lesser offence.

He presented a motion
pursuant of Section 22 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 30 of 1960 which
he said outlined bondage to be of good behaviour.

According to the
motion, the accused persons, were members of a group calling themselves the
“Homeland Study Group Foundation” of the Volta Region and had constituted
themselves into a pressure group which had been meeting occasionally to cause
“civil strife.”

Mr Adatsi said the
Police, through their intelligence gathering found out that members of the
group led by the accused persons intended to hold a special event to declare
independence of Western Togoland.

He said the Police
came to the realization that the actions of the group were likely to disturb
public peace as it constituted a secessionist move.

Mr Adatsi said the
police also realised that their actions had the potential of inciting riotous
behaviour which was evident in the teeming crowd that thronged the court
premises and occasioned the presence of the law enforcement agencies.

He said the Attorney
General, at whose behest criminal prosecutions in the country were held
believed that the accused persons who were also leaders of the group be made to
sign a bond of keeping the peace and also to be of good behaviour for a period
to be determined by the court.

Mr Atsu Abgakpey, lead
counsel for the accused, described the motion as an “anticlockwise” move by the
Attorney General and said the prosecution was “groping in the dark to find
non-existent charges against them.”

He said the
prosecution failed to state where, when, and how the accused persons sought to
disturb the peace of the country and said the people thronging to court were
only interested in the course of justice.

Mr Agbakpey said the
accused persons had been harassed, intimidated and maligned, and that the
police should rather be made to sign the bond.

He prayed the court to
discharge the accused persons and said the affidavit suggested that citizens
could not congregate and conduct matters of mutual interest.

Mr. Agbevor delivering
the verdict said the acts of the accused persons may be seen as acts that avail
to treason.

He said their efforts
at independence must follow acceptable international processes of proceedings
and that they should seek proper advice and adopt proper methods.

Mr Agbevor said
contrary to the claim of the counsel, the bond did not amount to conviction and
that it was only meant to caution the accused persons to conduct their affairs
in a legally acceptable manner.


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