July 19, 2024
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Afoko trial: Court to take his plead on murder for 3rd time in 8 years on Nov 21

Gregory Afoko, the farmer who is alleged to have played a role leading to the death of New Patriotic Party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama, will have his plead for murder taken again on November 21.

This would be the third time in eight years that Afoko’s plea on murder and conspiracy would be taken following a hung jury.

His retrial has since the beginning of the 2023/24 Legal Year been assigned to the Criminal Court ‘2’ presided over by Justice Maries-Louis Simmons for retrial (fresh start).

Since retrial was assigned, both Afoko, and Asabke Alangde (already Convicted and sentenced to death for conspiracy) have been in court twice, including today.

Their first appearance was on October 26, 2023, before Friday, November 3, appearance.

The two are being held for the acid incident in May 20, 2015, that led to the death of the New Patriotic Party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama.

Afoko, in particular, has been in lawful custody for the past 8 years since his arrest on May 21, 2015.

On April 27, this year, a seven-member jury returned a 4-3 verdict for Afoko who stood trial for conspiracy and murder.

Alhaji Mahama suffered severe bodily injuries after a substance suspected to be acid was allegedly poured on him in front of his house in Bolgatanga on May 20, 2015.

He later died from the injuries at the Bolgatanga General Hospital.

The decision of the jury on April 27 led to a Hung Jury, with the then trial judge, Justice Afua Marley Wood who was sitting as a Court of Appeal judge with additional responsibility as a High Court judge – now retired, ordering for a retrial.

Since April 27, 2023, Afoko has had two applications for bail refused – one at the Criminal Court 2 in June and the other at the Human Rights Division in October 9.

According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, a new set of the jury is expected to be empanelled on November 21.

The first trial of Afoko started in 2016 and was nearing completion after the prosecution and the defence had closed their cases.

But, the proceedings of Justice L L Mensah following the arrest of the second accused person, were terminated on January 28, 2019

On July 17, 2019, the second trial began before Justice Merley Afua Wood who has since retired as Justice of the Court of Appeal.

Following the Hung Jury, the case has been assigned to Justice Marie-Louise Simmons for a fresh start.

Brief facts

The brief facts of the case were that on May 14, 2015, Gregory’s brother, Paul Afoko, and Kwabena Agyepong, then national chairman and general secretary, respectively, of the NPP arrived in Bolgatanga for a meeting.

It stated that the deceased, organised some thugs to violently attack the two, 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 of the meeting.

The situation, according to the prosecution, was later brought under control by the police, adding that the accused, who was then upset, confronted Mahama but was chased out by thugs.

Another group

It also noted that Gregory and Asabke formed another youth group in their bid to protect persons perceived to be against Nana Akufo-Addo.

It said the accused persons held a series of meetings with the youth and on May 20, 2015
they laid ambush at 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, went to his aid and managed to bring him out of the vehicle, the prosecution added.

Injuries

According to the prosecution, Mahama’s wife also sustained burns on the right side of her chest and breast while assisting her husband.

It said when she enquired about what had happened to her husband, 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.

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