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General News of Wednesday, 12 January 2022


GIL lecturer in court over audio-visual recordings in coup plot

Dr. Mac Palm (left) is the main accused in the coup case

A Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL) Mr Isaac Osei has appeared in court over the audio-visual recordings which formed the basis of the alleged coup trial.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Benjamin Agordzo, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm and eight others have been charged for various offences including High treason.

Appearing in court as the sixth Prosecution Witness, Mr Osei, a lecturer in Spanish who led a team of six to transcribe and translate the video and audio recordings gave his evidence-in-Chief.

While being led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the witness told the court that, he has been working with the GIL “for more than 15 years.”

As a lecturer in the Spanish language, he told the court that, he holds B.A in Linguistics and B.A in teaching Spanish as a foreign language.

He also told the court that, he translates languages and specialises in English, Spanish and Twi, adding that, he interprets from these languages and transcribe audios and videos in the same.

The witness told the panel of three Justices of the High Court presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe that, about September to the end of 2019, he was made the Acting Director because, the then Acting Director retired and “I being the head of school of translators, I was appointed the acting director until the substantive director came in.”


Audio-visual translation

He said around the same period when acting, the GIL received correspondence in respect of Republic vs Mac-Palm and nine others.

“We received a letter from the CID Headquarters in Accra asking for the Institute’s help in transcribing some videos and audios” he noted.

He explained that the Client Service Unit handling the translation and related services informed him about the letter from the CID Headquarters and “since I have been working on some of these jobs for some time, I followed it up and had initial discussions with the CID people and we were accepted to do the job.”

Team of six translators

According to the lecturer, the audio-visual transcribing was done by a team of six people with him as the coordinator.

The team members were Mrs Elizabeth Rhule, Mrs Rita Yirensu, Ms Gertrude Sagoe, Isaac Osei, Mrs Jessie Amableh, Ms. Etornam Abigail and Mrs Nafisatu Appiah Dugan.

“I constituted a team and we went to the police CID Headquarters and collected the audios and videos and they told us that in order to ensure confidentiality of the work, a room has been reserved for us at the Military Intelligence Unit where they took us and it was from that place that we did the whole work,” the witness told the court.

He explained that “It was a secured room where we kept all our apparatus and only went in the following day to request the keys to continue to work till we finished.”

According to the witness it took the team about three months to complete the work and that, within that period “we worked at least four times in a week.”

Our own equipment

Asked to tell the court whose equipment they used for the work, he said “We used our own laptops and whenever we finished our work, we leave them there under lock until we finished.”

Explaining to the court, what actually the team did over the three months period, the witness said, “We listened to the audios and watched the videos and transcribed them to the best of our knowledge.”

He told the court that, after listening, watching and transcribing them, “We printed the final copy for the CID. I signed all of them by my position as the leader of the team and printed them on the Institute letterhead.”

Asked to tell the court, what happened after he printed and signed the documents, he explained that, ” initially, we printed one copy of the whole document and submitted same to the CID.”

Identifications of audiovisual with persons

On how he identified the voices and the videos with the accused persons, he said, “The transcription was done based on what was heard or seen and we didn’t know the interlocutors so what we did was to give them names like a speaker “1 or A” as and when, so any new person will be given such names.

“Naturally, in discourse like this, some of the names will appear naturally, because one interlocutor might mention the name of the person being addressed and in that process, we were able to identify some of the speakers in the audio and videos.”

He said, that was the nature of what the team printed for the CID before Sergeant Awarf Sule, (PW3), and the originator of the audio-visual was referred to them to identify the persons on the recordings before they submitted the final documents to the CID.

The two versions of the documents were tendered in evidence without any objections from the Defence lawyers.

The witness is under cross-examination examination from the Defence lawyers.

Witnesses called so far

So far, Colonel Isaac Amponsah, the Director in Charge of Operational Intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Department of the GAF, (PW1), Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh, Chief of Staff of the GAF (PW2), Staff Sergeant Awarf Sule, of the Defence Intelligence Department of the GAF (PW3), Henry Ekow Ghartey, a soldier with Signals Regiment of GAF (PW4) and Staff Sergeant Jonas Yeankye Kofi Natornah, a Physical Training Inspector of the General Headquarters Training School of GAF have all testified and have been discharged.


The 10 accused persons are ACP Dr Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, Johannes Zikpi, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer (II) Esther Saan Dekuwine.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the respective charges ranging from Conspiracy to commit crime to wit; high treason, high treason and Abetment.