The High Court in Ho presided by Mr Justice Eric Baah, last Thursday rejected bail application for five accused standing trial before the Ho Magistrate Court ‘One’ in connection with last month’s declaration of independence for the Volta and Oti Regions by the separatist Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF).
Counsel for the accused, Emile Atsu Agbakpe had filed an affidavit in support of bail for them at the High Court, praying that the independence declaration was not made by his clients.
The accused are Godsfriend Peter Edem, 48, Mkpe Tornyi Kudjo, 61, Kofi Agbeko, 32, Agbenyega Akudzi, 54, and Ibrahim Tofa, 60.
The leader of the group Charles Kudzordzi, 85, who is the first accused, and two other organisers of the group, ‘Gbeku’ and George Nyakpo are on the run.
The court explained that the treason felony was a first degree offence punishable by life or a lesser sentence, if convicted.
The accused, the court said, could interfere in investigations into the case if granted bail, and the possibility of the accused committing a similar offence while on bail could not be ruled out.
In its application opposition the bail, the prosecution stated that the applicants were in custody for less than a month to prevent their continuous commission of the offence, and also to assist the police to complete investigations into the matter.
The prosecution said “If the applicants are granted bail, they will continue with their treasonable preparation and actions detrimental to the peace, unity, cohesion and orderliness of the republic”.
The accused were earlier remanded in prison custody by the Ho Magistrate Court ‘One’.
Chief Superintendent of Police, Ayamga Yakubu Akolgo, told the court that at about 11 am on November 16, the accused, who were all members of HSGF, organized a public event at Ho-Moleme which attracted a gathering of about 100 people.
The prosecution said that during the function, Kudzordzi declared independence for the Volta Region, saying it would not be part of Ghana any longer as from midnight.
Edem, a pastor and the second accused played the role of master of ceremony at the declaration durbar which the Kudjo, Agbeko, Gbeku and Nyakpo helped to organise, the prosecution said.
The court heard that soon after the Kudzordzi pronounced the ‘The Republic of Western Togoland’, a video footage of the ecstatic crowd went viral on social media after which the police arrested the accused.
FROM ALBERTO MARO NORETTI, HO