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General News | Nov 24, 2004

"Coup Plotter" Owuobah Denied Bail

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The Accra Circuit Court has again refused to grant bail to Nicholas Owuobah, an ex-serviceman of the 64 Battalion Unit, who is standing trial for illegal possession of firearms. The court's decision, which is the third, followed a submission by an Assistant State Attorney, Mr Augustines Obour, that the police had not completed their investigations.

According to him, Owuobah was co-operating with the police in their investigations which had led to the arrest of more suspects who are believed to have the tendency to disturb the country's democracy. He, therefore, prayed the court to remand the accused person until investigations were completed.

The court, presided over by Mr Nathaniel Osam, remanded Owuobah to re-appear on November 30, 2004 to allow the security agencies to complete their investigations.

Owuobah, who is also a businessman, was charged for possessing firearms without authority and engaging in unauthorised buying of military accoutrements. The court did not take his plea.

Counsel for the accused person pleaded with the court to grant Owuobah bail, since he would not interfere with police investigations. Counsel submitted that Owuobah would avail himself for trial at all times, adding that the security agencies had delayed in their investigations, pointing out that that should not be an excuse to trample on the human rights of Owuobah by refusing him bail.

Mr Obour prayed the court to reject defence counsel's application, since Owuobah might interfere with investigations when granted bail, adding,“the application is premature.'In his ruling, Mr Osam said the court was of the view that the accused person was facing serious charges and it was, therefore, paramount for the security agencies to be given enough time to complete their investigations.

The court held that it was vital to ensure that the security agencies were not obstructed in their investigations, especially at a time when there had been new developments, while the accused person was co-operating with investigations.

The facts of the case are that on November 5, 2004, the security agencies received intelligence information that a group of people were planning to disturb the peace and the democratic process of the nation.

Following some leads, a combined team from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) mounted an exercise to round up members of the group who were believed to pose a threat to the country's democracy, as well as had the tendency to perpetrate certain terrorist acts.

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