Defence protests as witness identifies Ogbamey in leaked Ofosu Ampofo audio
A prosecution witness has identified NDC appointee, Alfred Ogbamey, as one of the voices in a leaked audio in which NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, allegedly incited mayhem.
The senior journalist’s name was mentioned by the third prosecution witness, Detective Chief Inspector Bernard Berko, during examination by the Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Attakora Obuobisah.
On Friday, Chief Inspector Berko said while listening to the said audio recording of the accused persons, he recognised the voice of Alfred Ogbamey and others.
“On February 27, 2019, police had information that at a meeting of NDC communicators held at their party headquarters, Accra on February 3, 2019, Chairman of the party made some statements which were of security concern and the matter was referred to me for investigation.
“My lord as part of my investigation I obtained a copy of the said audio recording from the Multimedia Group, Adom FM to be precise. After carefully listening to the said audio recording, I recognised the voice of A1 and other party leaders notable among them was Alfred Ogbamey,” he narrated.
But the mention of Alfred Ogbamey was strongly objected to by the defence counsel.
They argued that the said name mentioned by the accused was not part of the disclosures submitted in evidence by the prosecution.
They maintained that this was an element of surprise and urged the court presided over by Justice Asiedu to expunge the said name as it was not disclosed.
“We object to the introduction of an identifiable person called Alfred Ogbamey into the testimony of the witness. The disclosures made by the prosecution gave no hints whatsoever that in addition to A1and A2, there was an identifiable person among the group of people the communication was alleged to have taken place.
“Indeed, in the written statement of the witness, he never mentioned anybody’s name. We are taken completely by surprise. My Lord, the objection is not an idle one because among the charges that have been preferred against the accused persons is one of conspiracy with unknown persons and that is what he is required to prepare, if there was an identifiable person in that room, that part ought to have been clearly disclosed to the accused persons as part of the disclosure requirement and the practice direction.
“We respectfully ask that the portion of testimony mentioning Alfred Ogbamey as one of the persons who is alleged to have spoken in the recording be expunged,” the NDC National Chairman’s lawyer, Tony Lithur argued.
Lawyer for the second accused person, Aziz Bamba agreed. He added that “the failure of not disclosing this detail was unfair, prejudicial and inconsistent with the ratio and effect of the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in the Eugene Baffour Bonnie case.”
Prosecution did not take the objection lightly and prayed the court overruled the objection.
She argued that the objections are misplaced.
“My lord, it has been disclosed already, there is no surprise element here. We again disclosed his police statement together with his witness statement and my Lord, they again have not been surprised.
“Anybody listening to the audio hears the mention of so many names and the witness mentions names of people he heard. This is an investigator who has worked on the audio he talked about. The mention of the name Alfred Ogbamey which he identifies does not infringe any of the rules on the testimony of the witness under the Evidence Act.
“Neither is it in conflict with the court’s practice direction. My Lord, this evidence that he has mentioned, in all fairness cannot be expunged, it should be made to stand,” she said.
Having heard both arguments, the judge ruled in favour of the prosecution.
Ogbamey is a senior journalist and an immediate past Communication Director of the Ghana Gas Company Limited.
In 2019, he expressed interest to join scores of professionals who have sacrificed their professional fields for politics.
Available information suggested that the former Managing Editor of the defunct Gye-Nyame-Concord tabloid was going to race for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary primaries to represent his constituents in Parliament.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo and the NDC’s Communications Officer of the party, Anthony Kwaku Boahe, are standing trial for conspiracy to assault a public officer and conspiracy to cause harm.
In a widely circulated audio, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo is allegedly heard inciting party communicators to assault public officials and plotting to harm some other civilians – allegations he has vehemently denied.
In the audio, apart from inciting the party’s communicators, he is also heard urging them to discredit the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, who replaced a Mahama appointed EC boss, Charlotte Osei.
According to the audio, the plan was to create a general state of insecurity in the country through kidnapping, as well as verbal attacks on the Chairperson of the EC.
Ofosu Ampofo maintains innocence
The former Local Government Minister insisted that his arrest and subsequent trial is borne out of mischief and an attempt by his detractors to frustrate his effort as national chairman of the largest opposition party.
Ofosu Ampofo has refused to give out the names of the said detractors but promised to reveal it in due time.
The NDC Chairman believes he will bounce back stronger as he has learnt useful lessons with the ongoing trial.
Legal counsel for the embattled National Chairman, had argued that the audio recording of their client was a breach of his privacy.
The defence team led by Tony Lithur had filed an application asking an Accra High Court to stop the state from presenting a leaked audio recording as evidence of his client’s alleged crime.