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I don’t know who recorded Ofosu Ampofo’s leaked audio tape – Investigator tells court

The third prosecution witness testifying in the NDC Chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo’s leaked audiotape case said he has no clue who recorded the tape for which they were in court.

Detective Inspector Bernard Berko, on Tuesday told the Accra High Court that he could not explain specific details of the recording where the NDC Chairman is believed to have incited party faithful to wreak havoc in the country.

Inspector Berko was responding to a question posed by Tony Lithur, counsel for the accused person.

He said his investigation could not reveal the identity of the person who recorded the tape at the said closed-door meeting, which had mostly NDC communicators.

He also failed to tell the court who the moderator of the said meeting was.

Mr Lithur also drew the witness’ attention to the fact that the secret recording was done on the blind side of the participants at the meeting.

“I am suggesting to you that nobody at the alleged meeting consented or would have consented to be recorded on a sensitive matter as described by the moderator at the beginning of the meeting,” Mr Lithur quizzed.

The investigator simply said he “cannot confirm or deny that one”.

Mr Lithur wondered why the investigation failed to go beyond the accused persons — the NDC Chairman Ofosu Ampofo and the Communication Officer Anthony Kwaku Boahen.

He went on to mention the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, the party Communications Officer Sammy Gyamfi and others who were all present at the meeting.

But the investigator said at the time, the two accused persons were the focus of their investigation and not the others.

READ: Ofosu Ampofo leaked tape sent to Isreal for forensic exams

What has happened in court since the trial started

So far, two prosecution witnesses have testified.

The court, on November 30, 2020, admitted into evidence the leaked audio tape.

Also, a transcription of the leaked audio which was sent to the Israeli Forensic Institute for forensic examination has been admitted into evidence.

The two-hour tape which was played in court detailed how the NDC Chairman vowed to wage war against the EC boss Jean Mensa.

“We must wage against the Electoral Commission’s Chairperson [Jean Mensah]. With me, she doesn’t even want to see my face, we went to the office and she told us it was our usual tactics that caused the violence.

“We will target some people and we will let them know their lives are in danger. When it comes to this game we are better than them. We should not spare the Civil Society Organisations and religious leaders, especially the Peace Council Chair.

“We are not joking, we want to assure you that we will sit with the leaders and come up with a security plan,” as stated in the leaked tape by the NDC Chairman.

ALSO READ: Defence protests as Witness identies Ogbamey

Background

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo and the NDC’s Communications Officer of the party, Anthony Kwaku Boahen, 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

Ofosu Ampofo, who described his trial as a political witch-hunt, minced no words by stating that he knows those behind his misfortunes.

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.

Exchanges in court

Here are excerpts of the exchanges between counsel for the accused person Tony Lithur (TL) and the third prosecution witness Inspector Bernard Berko (BB) on March 16

TL: I believe you are aware that the meeting which was allegedly recorded was preceded by a rather violent by-election

BB: No, my Lord

TL: You are aware, are you not that few days before that alleged meeting, a by-election took place at Ayawaso West Wuogon

BB: I was aware there was a by-election at Ayawaso West Wuogon (AWW) but as to whether that was the basis of the meeting, that I did not know

TL: You are aware, are you not that the AWW by-election was characterised by a measure of violence

BB: Yes my Lord, there was violence

TL: I believe you have read the transcript of the audio recording you tended in to this court

BB: Yes my Lord, I have read

TL: Exhibit D (transcript) page 1 and read out the first paragraph

BB: We normally do not have meeting for the communication team, these are not normal times, we don’t have much to discuss today, I believe you know the issue already, we are to discuss the AWW election and the strategy going forward…

TL: What you read was part of the speech of the moderator of the alleged meeting, is that true

BB: Yes my Lord

TL: In that statement the moderator stated very emphatically that the reason for calling the rather unusual meeting of communicators was to agree on communication and communication lines regarding the withdrawal by NDC from the AWW election, is that correct

BB: It was part of it

TL: You are aware though that the NDC did withdraw from the AWW by-election

BB: Yes, my Lord

TL: Now, tell the court which part of the statement I just read to you did not represent what the moderator said

BB: What I read is just a minuet part of the transcript

TL: But you would agree that I accurately captured what the moderator said in this particular instance of what you read out

BB: Yes, my Lord

TL: Based on your investigation, did you find out whether or not the reason given by the moderator for calling the meeting was true or not

BB: All questions posed to the accused persons was not answered

TL: Not withstanding the fact that A1 (Samuel Ofosu Ampofo) declined to speak on the issue, did you as an investigator find out independently whether or not the reason given by the investigator for calling the meeting was true

BB: The idea behind purpose of the meeting can only be known from him

TL: Where did you get the information that it was in fact A1, who called that meeting

BB: You the lawyer (Referring to Tony Lithur) told me…the court that it was A1, by implication

TL: I have not in this court, whether directly or indirectly said that the alleged meeting of which the recording was made was called by first accused person

BB: By implication, the question he asked showed that A1 called for the meeting. That is why I was asked the idea for calling such a meeting

TL: So, it is safe to say that prior to what you said you heard from the lawyer you did not independently know who actually called the meeting

BB: All that I know is that there was a meeting

TL: I suggest to you that the meeting was not called by first accused

BB: I can’t confirm or deny that one

TL: From your investigation, are you able to confirm that the portion of your transcript which you read out to the court was in fact true or not

BB: Not true my lord

TL: Can you tell the court, who recorded the meeting

BB: I don’t know who recorded it

TL: So, that recording could have been made by National Security operatives

BB: I don’t know who recorded it

The case continues on March 30, 2021

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