Retired Chief Superintendent Jacob Jebuni Yidana, a former renowned detective in the Ghana Police Service, in his book, “Who killed The Judges?”, revealed that dropped New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential hopeful, Captain (rtd) Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey was arrested and tried at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison for his attempt to overthrow the government of Dr. Hilla Limann.
Effah-Dartey, according to the book, was arrested on 5th February 1981 in the early hours of the morning on the instructions of the then Deputy Director of Military Intelligence, and during a search, tell-tale evidence was found on him.
He was picked up when he was stepping out of his office and heading for home.
The suspect was, as required by their orders, asked to search his captors before they did same to him. His briefcase, in which were found a diary and some papers, according to Yidana, showed ample evidence about the suspect's coup plans against the Limann government.
On one of the papers, Effah-Dartey had stated that he must stage the coup before Easter.
Unearthed by the team was a speech which Effah-Dartey planned reading on the day of his still-born coup.
“During the search, they found 27 rounds of 9mm ammunition in a suitcase on top of his wardrobe,” Yidana's book reveals.
He claimed that he obtained the ammo from his unit when he served in Lebanon but forgot to return it before coming down to Ghana.
“The other officers also found documents relating to plans to execute a coup to overthrow the government of Ghana.
Throughout the search, Effah-Dartey appeared to be nervous and was chain-smoking. Afterwards, he was invited to attest to the fact that all the documents and ammunition found had been collected from his room,” the book revealed.
At the Military Intelligence where he was driven to, “Effah-Dartey freely admitted that it had been his ambition since his secondary school days to become a head of state and that he had joined the army so that he could stage a coup and achieve his goal,” the book further revealed.
Whereas Rawlings promised to kill many civilians, including journalists in his next revolution, Effah-Dartey, according to retired Chief Superintendent Yidana, allegedly intended to kill Ghanaians above the age of 40.
Yidana busted the suspected killers of the three High Court Judges and retired Army Major, which cost him eight years in jail and many years in exile.
He spoke to DAILY GUIDE in the wake of the retired Captain's forced exit from NPP's forthcoming congress over his alleged involvement in subversive activities in the past and subsequent denials that he was ever nailed for subversion.
According to Yidana, “We investigated the case and Mr. Amadu, a magistrate, tried the case at the Nsawam Medium Prisons from where he (Effah-Dartey) was released by Rawlings.”
The former Interior Minister's bid to lead the ruling NPP in next year's general elections as flagbearer, suffered a jolt last week when the issue of whether or not he has a criminal record, cropped up.
Taking issues with the retired Captain, Mr. Yidana noted that a pardon which the embattled politician claims to have been granted could be conditional or unconditional under the Constitution.
Continuing he said, “A pardon must be supported by a warrant of pardon”.
In the case of an unconditional pardon, the beneficiary can ask for what he lost when he or she was under restriction but under a conditional pardon, the victim is not entitled to such a favour, Mr. Yidana, said.
“Let him provide documentary evidence of pardon and the source of the gesture,” he went on.
On pages 48 to 51 of his book, “Who Killed The Judges?”, Mr. Yidana narrated that when the military authorities were engaged to contain the subversive activities of Flt Lt. Rawlings, they were faced with a fresh threat from Effah-Dartey of the 5 Battalion of Infantry.
In a related development, a retired Colonel, who was Officer Commanding the Ghana Military Academy Wing of the Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS) during the cadet days of Effah-Dartey, has stated that while he was the Chief Operations Officer, the Limann government was under threat from three groups including what he called 'the Effah-Dartey group'.
The then junior officer, he stressed, was monitored by Major Brimah and Colonel Muyideen Yahya, both of the Military Intelligence, when his plan to topple the Limann government was discovered.
Effah-Dartey, he said, was released alongside others in 1981, on the orders of former President Rawlings and driven straight to Gondar Barracks for re-absorption into the military apparatus, when the late Dr. Limann government was overthrown.
The Colonel disclosed that Effah-Dartey had a problem with former President Rawlings during the composition of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) junta.
During the constitution of the junta, he said Rawlings nominated Chris Atim “and I nominated Dr. Mohammed Alhassan and another person, Akatapore. All of a sudden, Effah-Dartey said 'put my name inside”.
To this, he said Rawlings got angry and ordered that Effah-Dartey be put under a 24-hour surveillance.
By A.R. Gomda