| The audio recording in which Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) allegedly threatened the life of some persons was yesterday admitted in evidence. The audio was tendered through Benjamin Ampofo Adjei, a prosecution witness, and a senior broadcast journalist at Adom Fm, an Accra based radio station, after he identified the audio as the interview Mr Boahen granted him on February 27, 2019. Mr Ampofo and Anthony Kwaku Boahen, a deputy Communications Officer of the party are standing trial for conspiracy to commit crime and harm on public officers. In the said leaked audio recording which had since gone viral, the Chairman of the NDC was heard saying, “We will target some people and let the people know their life is in danger.” Mr Boahen who was reacting to the audio recording in an interview with the journalist on Adom Fm purportedly claimed that he (Boahen) was at the said meeting where the NDC Chairman made the alleged statement. The Deputy Communications Director of the NDC said in the interview that the party was behind its Chairman. His counsel, Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba objected to the tendering of the audio recording stating that it amounted to violation of privacy of Mr Ampofo. Dr Bamba contended that the prosecution failed to refer to any statute or law that empowers prosecution or the witness to interfere with the alleged communication of Mr Ampofo and urged the court to expunge the portion that was secretly recorded. He said the prosecution failed to fulfill the conditions provided by article 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution. Article 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution states: “No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others.” The prosecutor, Mr Alfred Asiama-Sampong, a chief state attorney reminded the court that article 18(2) of the constitution which Dr Bamba seeks to rely on has provided exceptions regarding private communication. He said the recording of the interview made by Mr Adjei was a communication which bothered on crime. Mr Asiama-Sampong told the court that the Supreme Court has made a distinction between a secret recording which is a breach of a person’s privacy and interference of communication which borders on crime. In overruling the objection, Justice Samuel Asiedu noted that the defence counsel had not registered any objection in respect of admissibility of evidence. Meanwhile, the court has dismissed an application by the defence seeking to stay proceedings to abide by the outcome of an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the ruling of the High Court to adopt the witness statement of Adjei on January 29, 2020. |
The accused had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime and harm on public officers and are currently on GH¢100,000 bail each, with a surety.
The facts are that the accused were arraigned on April 16 for allegedly inciting communicators of the party to attack the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, and the chairman of the National Peace Council.
Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for Mr Ampofo, told the court that his client could not speak about the alleged leaked tape because it was doctored.
He said the invasion of his client’s privacy relates to the constitutional breach of Mr Ampofo’s rights.
Dr Bamba said his client denied the charges levelled against him, and added that Mr Boahen was innocent until proven guilty by the court.
He contended that the charges against the Deputy Communications Officer of the NDC were not grounded in the law.
Miss Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, who read the charges against the accused in April 2019, said Mr Boahen faces only a charge of conspiracy to cause harm, while his colleague was charged with all the three counts. The case has been adjourned to March 12, 17 and 18, 2020.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA