An audio recording allegedly containing inciteful comments by the NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, has been sent to Israel for forensic examination.
A police investigator with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bernard Berko who testified against the NDC politician, revealed this during his examination at the Accra High Court on Friday.
“I made a copy and also made a copy of the one I had earlier received from Adom FM and labeled it as Elder Ofosu Ampofo.
“My Lord, I forwarded the two recordings to the Israel Forensic Science Institute for examination,” the Detective said.
The NDC National Chairman and a communications team member, Kwaku Boahen are standing trial at the court for an alleged plot against the EC Chairperson and others.
The purpose of sending the video was to determine if indeed that was the voice of the NDC stalwart or a doctored one as has been suggested by the NDC National Chairman.
The Institute of Forensic Science was established in 2007 by a team of experts with years of experience in evidence examinations.
It is the core of the Israeli Police Forensic services Department – with the aim of providing forensic services to the wider public.
The institute is known to perform researches and studies, whose results are applied in its laboratory examinations.
Here are excerpts of the exchanges between the Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Attakora Oboubisah, and Detective Chief Inspector Bernard Berko.
[Yvonne Attakora Oboubisah (YAO) and Bernard Berko (BB)]
YAO: How long have you worked in the Ghana Police Service
BB: 19 years
YAO: How long have you been at the CID
BB: 2 years
YAO: Please take a look at the accused persons and indicate to the court if you know them and how you know them
BB: I do know them. On February 27, 2019, police had information that at a meeting of National Democratic Congress 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. My Lord, after carefully listening to the said audio recording, I recognised the voice of A1 and other party leaders notable among them was Alfred Ogbamey
[Objection by legal team of the accused persons – Tony Lithur (TL) and Aziz Bamba (AB)]
TL: 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 among who 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 as part of the law and the practice direction. We respectfully ask that the portion of testimony mentioning Alfred Ogbamey as one of the persons who is alleged and also spoke in the recording should be expunged.
AB: I associate myself to that of learned counsel. Failure to disclose the material before tendering in evidence is not rendering it admissible but it is to enable the accused study the evidence before court today. My, Lord, the reference to Alfred Ogbamey and other leaders of the NDC is not contained in the witness statement that was filed on behalf of the witness and disclosed to the accused persons. The effect of this is that after a year since this case has been pending, new evidence is being introduced for the very first time, it is our case that this is unfair, prejudicial and inconsistent with ratio and effect of the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in the Eugene Baffour Bonnie case. We, therefore pray, that the witness testifies on material matters that are not contained in the witness statement filed on his behalf, those matters should be expunged from proceedings.
YAO: The objections are misplaced. My Lord, every witness and PW3 is testifying on oath on matters he has heard, seen and worked on after which he will be cross-examined. My Lord the rules of evidence has not changed as to what the witness can testify on. My Lord, exhibit D was tendered in yesterday which is a transcript of what PW3 has just mentioned. My Lord, this together with the audio recording itself was disclosed to the accused persons in accordance with the Eugene Baffour-Bonnie and the practice directed.
YAO: My Lord, even in exhibit D, the name he has mentioned is there in page 35, you see Alfred on a number of pages, even Haruna and others. For exhibit D, 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 Pw3 is simply telling us what 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.
[Judge overrules – Justice Asiedu (JA)]
JA: The witness is only telling the court what he heard. It contains several names includes Alfred, in any case the witness will be cross examined. The court finds no merit in the objection.
[Witness continues his testimony]
BB: Pw1 had also interviewed A2 on Juaso Nsem on Adom FM on the same subject matter. My Lord, the said audio recording was played to the hearing of A2 after which he was asked to confirm whether that was the voice of A1, my Lord, his answer was affirmative that indeed that was the voice of A1. My Lord, A2 was further questioned whether he was part of the said meeting and he said yes he was. A2 went further to say that he and some other members that were present at the meeting were in support and in agreement of whatever A1 said and that was why they applauded him. My Lord, I obtained statement from the witness Pw1
BB: And, I also obtained a copy of the said audio recording from Adom FM. My Lord, I made copies of the two audio recording and forwarded same to the Ghana Institute of Languages where they were transcribed. My Lord, A1 and A2 were invited by police to assist in investigation. My Lord, they honoured the investigation and reported. Their respective audio recording was played to them separately and after they were invited by police. The two declined to talk on the issue and investigation statement was obtained from them separately. A1 in his investigation caution statement stated that the tape is doctored and therefore wishes to exercise his rights to remain silent. My Lord, A2 also said the same thing in his caution statement.
YAO: Take a look at this and indicate to the court what you have in hand.
BB: This is investigation caution statement obtained from A1 dated March 5, 2019
YAO: Please take a look at this also and tell court what you have
BB: This is investigation caution statement obtained from A2 dated March 13, 2019
YAO: Briefly, read exhibit B and F
BB: The tape is doctored and I don’t want to talk about it. I reserve the right not to make any comment.
YAO: Pls go on. You have said that you obtained the leaked audio, invited the accused persons and played the audio to them and obtained statements from them, what else happened.
BB: My Lord, they were granted police enquiry bail. A1 after the grant of bail addressed some party faithful’s who had converged at the entrance of the CID headquarters premises and they were being captured by TV3 network. As part of my invitation, I obtained a copy of the audio recording of the said address from TV3. I labelled it as Ofosu Ampofo CID. I made a copy of that one as well and also made a copy of the one I earlier received from Adom FM and labelled it as Elder Ofosu Ampofo. My Lord, I forwarded the two recorders to Israel Forensic Science Institute for forensic examination.
The case continues on November 19, 2020.