Crime & Punishment of 2014-01-27

One woman, 2 husbands; first-ever reported case in Ghana

A 32-year-old woman and her father have been charged with bigamy by the police after she successfully got married to two different men legally in Ghana.

According to a report by The Finder newspaper Patience Belinda Gyamfi (the woman at the centre of investigations) got married to Maximus Anumah, a member of staff at the 37 Military Hospital in 2012 and to Audrey Atikpo in January 2013 while she was still married to the former.

The newspaper reported that Belinda’s marriage to Maximus was held at a church in Labadi and registered at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) while and the second marriage was registered in Somanya in the Eastern Region.

The report indicated that in mid-January 2013, Belinda, who had not been blessed with a fruit of the womb from her marriage with Anumah sought permission from her husband to go to Edumfa Prayer Camp in the Central Region for fasting and prayers to seek divine intervention so they could have children, to which her husband granted the request.

It said unknown to Mr Anumah, Belinda, her father and some family members had arranged a secret wedding with another man, Audrey Atikpo, who came down from the United States of America (USA). How they met is yet to be established.

The report said, according to the second marriage certificate, Belinda got married to Atikpo on January 31, 2013 and registered the marriage at the Somanya Magistrate Court.

Atikpo then rented an apartment at East Legon where he stayed with Belinda for some days and went back to the US to process the necessary documents for Belinda to join him there.

According to The Finder report, when Atikpo left, Belinda packed back to her first husband’s house at Labadi in mid-February 2013.

It said, upon her return, Belinda always found faults with anything that Anumah did, resulting in frequent misunderstandings.

Some months later, Belinda's father brought drinks and GH¢300 to Anumah saying his daughter wanted divorce, but Anumah rejected the items, the report said.

Being suspicious of his wife’s calls from a gentleman and a woman from the US, Anumah enquired about the calls and Belinda told him that the man (Belinda's second husband Atikpo) was her cousin and the woman (Belinda's mother in-law in US) her aunty.

Not satisfied with the answers, Anumah started searching for his own clues and it was in the course of the search, Anumah found a piece of paper in their room bearing the name and address of Atikpo, The Finder reported.

According to the newspaper, Anumah logged on to Facebook, searched for Audrey Atikpo and sent him a friendship request.

Upon accepting the request, and seeing Anumah and Belinda's wedding photos in Anumah’s Facebook photos, Atikpo confronted Anumah and the two men both claimed to be the rightful husband of Belinda, The Finder said.

According to The Finder, Atikpo called Belinda from the US and confronted her on the matter and the following day, Belinda packed all her belongings from Anumah's house and went back to the house Atikpo rented for her at East Legon.

Feeling fooled and cheated by Belinda, Anumah reported the case to the police, who are currently investigating the matter.