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14.12.2004 General News

Alleged 'Coup Plotter' Granted Bail

Alleged 'Coup Plotter' Granted  Bail
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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA- An Accra High Court has admitted Nicolas Owuoba, an ex-serviceman facing trial for allegedly plotting to destabilise the country, to 500 million cedis bail with a surety to be justified.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the court presided over by Mr Justice Anthony Abada ordered Owuoba to report to the police twice a week. Owuoba, now a businessman, is standing trial at an Accra Circuit Court for possessing firearms without lawful authority and buying military accoutrements without authority.

The Circuit Court, presided over by Mr Nathaniel E. K. Osam refused him bail after the prosecution had prayed the court to grant them time to conduct further investigations into the matter.

Mr Prosper Nyahe, counsel for Owuoba, then filed an application at the High Court for bail for his client.

In his ruling, Mr Abada noted that although the offence under which the accused was charged does not constitute those that bail should be refused, the prosecution was unable to convince the court on the continued detention of the accused.

The court noted that although there were, several persons involved in the matter some of them had been granted bail.

The court said the police since the arrest of the accused person, had had a month to gather and monitor the accused persons.

"The security of the state is as important as the rights of an individual," the court added.

Mr Nyahe in his application for bail, expressed concern about the continued detention of his client who had denied the charges levelled against him.

He stated that his client was entitled to bail under the charges levelled against him saying his fundamental human rights should not be trampled on.

Mr Nyahe alleged that investigations into the matter were being delayed unreasonably because the state had all the apparatus to complete the investigations on time.

Replying, Mr Augustines Obuor, an Assistant State Attorney, stated that Owuoba was being kept in the interest of national security since he had admitted that the accoutrements belonged to him.

He said there had not been any reasonable delay because the accused person had been kept for three weeks.

"It does not take three weeks to conduct investigations into a serious matter such as this, since several ex-servicemen at a particular unit held meetings at different times and places".

The case for the prosecution is that on November 5, this year, intelligence information indicated that a group of persons was preparing to disturb the peace and democratic process of the country.

A combined team from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service mounted an exercise and rounded up the alleged members of the group.

The prosecution said during the exercise, seven persons, including the accused person, were arrested. When the accused person's premise was searched, military accoutrements in a military bag, including one Makorov" pistol and 18 rounds of 9mm rounds of ammunition were found in his bedroom. A wooden box was also found on Owuoba's corridor.

The prosecution said Owuoba bought a set of camouflage military uniform, a pair of military boots, one military helmet, one set military body pack, two military caps, two military raincoats, one military water bottle, one military shovel, three military waist belts, one lanyard (operations) and one lanyard (64 BN) without authorisation.

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