Counsel for the two accused persons standing trial over the murder of the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have expressed deep frustration at the slow pace of the trial.
Ms Naana Essa Boafo, counsel for Gregory Afoko, a farmer, and Mr Alfred Agyei Mensah, lawyer for Musah Issah, a businessman, expressed the sentiment after the prosecutor had told the court that the police were still awaiting the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) advice.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Steven Adjei had prayed the Accra Magistrate’s Court to adjourn the trial for two weeks, pending the advice from the A-G.
He told the court, presided over by Mr Worlanyo Kotoku, that by the next adjourned date of November 25, 2015, the A-G would have made available the advice for the trial to commence.
However, counsel for the two accused persons described the persistent requests for adjournment as “unfair”.
According to them, it had been six months since the trial began and expressed the hope that the undue delays associated with the case would soon give way to a speedy trial.
Afoko, a younger brother of the suspended National Chairman of the NPP; Issah and Asabke Alangdi, a member of the NPP, are being held for allegedly pouring acid on the late Mahama.
Afoko is being held for murder, while Issah has been charged with abetment of crime. Their pleas have not been taken. On July 10, 2015, the Accra Magistrate’s Court admitted Issah to bail in the sum of GHc20,000, with four sureties.
He is to report himself to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service before noon from Monday to Thursday until the case is disposed of.
However, the court declined bail for Afoko after it refused to accept that there had been any unreasonable delay in the matter.
At the last sitting of the court on October 13, 2015, the prosecutor, Superintendent Francis Baah, had told the court that the police were awaiting advice from the A-G.
When the court demanded from the prosecution whether it had made any follow-up on the case at the A-G’s Department, it said since the matter involved murder, the prosecution needed to tread cautiously.
He told the court that if the case were any other case, it would have ended by now.
According to the facts of the case, on May 14, 2015, Gregory’s brother, Mr Paul Afoko, and the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, arrived in Bolgatanga for a meeting.
“The deceased organised some thugs to violently attack them, scuttling the planned meeting at the Azumsolon Guest House, for campaigning against the flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and also not notifying him. The situation was later brought under control by the police,” the prosecution said.
According to the prosecution, an upset Gregory confronted Adams Mahama but was chased out by thugs.
It said the accused persons held a series of meetings with the youth and on May 20, 2015 they laid ambush at Adams Mahama’s residence with a substance suspected to be acid.
“The deceased returned home around 11:10 p.m. in his pick-up vehicle, with registration number NR 761 – 14, and immediately he parked the vehicle in front of his house, the suspects went close and signalled him to roll down the glass. The deceased identified the suspects to be party members and rolled down the glass to talk to them. Suddenly, the suspects poured the substance suspected to be acid on his head, face and other parts of his body and fled on a motorbike.
“The deceased started screaming for help and his wife, Hajia Zenabu Adams, came to the aid of the deceased and managed to bring him out of the vehicle,” the prosecution stated.
According to the prosecution, Mahama’s wife sustained burns on the right side of her chest and breast while assisting her husband. When she inquired about what had happened to him, he told her Gregory and Asabke had attacked him.
Mahama died while being airlifted to Accra for treatment. Gregory, who was later picked up, led the police to Asabke’s father’s house. The police later located Asabke’s house but he had then absconded with his wife, abandoning their baby in the process.
A post-mortem report on Mahama said he died of shocked lungs and extensive acid burns.