The investigator in the trial of National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and a Communications Officer of the party, Kwaku Boahen, has insisted that the two are on trial because they had conspired to commit an offence.
Chief Inspector Bernard Berko, who is the third prosecution witness, during cross-examination from Tony Lithur, counsel for Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, shrugged off suggestions from the lawyer that Kwaku Boahen was arraigned because he had applauded Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo when he spoke at the meeting where he made some utterances, which are the subject matter of the trial.
Mr. Lithur had earlier asked the witness whether he heard Kwaku Boahen’s voice on the controversial tape, and the witness replied in the negative, but added that not everyone at the meeting was heard on the tape but Kwaku Boahen in an interview admitted that he was at the said meeting.
“Is it your case then that you charged A2 (Kwaku Boahen) simply because he was at the meeting,” Mr. Lithur queried.
“No, my Lord, I charged him because A1 and A2 were conspiring to commit the offences charged, and in an open interview, A2 confirmed that he was in total support of the plan of A1 to commit those offences,” the witness replied.
“You did not hear A2 speak at the meeting. In a subsequent interview A2 said he was at the recorded meeting. A2 said they applauded A1 because of what he said and that is why you have charged A2,” Mr. Lithur pressed the witness.
The investigator insisted that Kwaku Boahen and Ofosu-Ampofo were conspiring to commit the offences, which is why they were charged.
This led the lawyer to ask the witness whether he had seen the two anywhere apart from what he heard on the tapes discussing any matter, and the witness said he had not but added that “they need not be seen together before they can commit the offence.”
Mr. Lithur also focused his cross-examination on Alfred Ogbamey, a member of the NDC, who was at the said meeting, and asked the witness whether he had invited him and charged him since he (Ogbamey) was at the said meeting.
But Chief Inspector Berko told the court that he did not invite or charge Mr. Ogbamey because he did not make any comments which constitute an offence in the view of the police.
This led to a back and forth between Mr. Lithur and the witness about whether or not applauding someone for what they said constituted an offence.
Lawyer: Does applauding constitute an offence?
Witness: A1 and A2 were conspiring that is why he was charged not because A2 was applauding.
Lawyer: Are you suggesting that if A2 only applauded you will not have charged him?
Witness: My Lord, the person can only be charged when they commit an offence.
Lawyer: what is your rank in the police?
Witness: Chief Inspector
Lawyer: Will you Chief Inspector Berko arrest and charge a person for only applauding?
Witness: Police can arrest on suspicion but can only charge when they commit a crime. I will only arrest and charge somebody when I have sufficient evidence for committing a crime.
Lawyer: I am suggesting to you that applauding someone is not an offence.
Witness: I am not saying that applauding is an offence.
Lawyer: Did you invite the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu who was also at the meeting to find out whether he also applauded?
Witness: I did not invite anyone who did not commit any offence.
The court, presided over by Justice Samuel A. Asiedu, a Court of Appeal judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, adjourned the matter to November 1, 2021, for continuation.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo and Kwaku Boahen are on trial over a leaked tape which captures how the opposition NDC allegedly planned to commit crimes in the country and turn round to blame them on the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the heat of the 2020 general election.
Among the strategies the NDC planned to adopt were the creation of a general state of insecurity in the country and verbal attacks on public officials like then Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof. Emmanuel Asante, and EC boss, Jean Mensa.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo has been charged with one count of conspiracy to cause harm and two counts of assault against a public officer, while on the other hand, Kwaku Boahen is facing one count of conspiracy to cause harm.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak