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Mr Gregory Afoko, one of the suspects standing trial for the alleged murder of the Upper East Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Adam Mahama, on Wednesday, 17 July 2019 pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
A seven-member jury was sworn in by the presiding judge, Merley Woode.
Mr Afoko’s lawyers, however, raised two objections during the jury selection process.
They asked for time to enable them to conduct checks into the backgrounds of the jurors.
Mr Stephen Sowah Charway, who held brief for Mr Osafo Buabeng argued that his client cannot exercise his right to object to the inclusion of any juror on the panel since he had no knowledge of their backgrounds or who they were.
The Chief State Attorney, Marina Appiah Opare, however, raised an objection to that request with the explanation that Ghana’s laws do not allocate time to accused persons to do background checks on jurors.
The presiding judge also stated that Act 30 made no such provisions for accused persons.
Mr Afoko went ahead to exercise his right and objected to the inclusion of certain jurors three different times.
The other accused person, Asabke Alangdi, a butcher, was also given the same opportunity which he exercised once. Chief State Attorney, Marina Appiah Opare, who read the facts of the case said the state will demonstrate in the course of the trial that the two acted with the aim of killing Adam Mahama.
The state, she said, intends to call 19 witnesses in the course of the trial.
She recounted that the former Chairman of the NPP, Mr Paul Afoko (brother of Gregory), the then-General Secretary of the party and Mr Kwabena Agyepong attended a meeting in the Upper East Region in 2015.
The aim, she said, was to strategise against the then-flagbearer of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The said meeting, the prosecution added, was scuttled by some men organised by the late Adam Mahama.
Unhappy about the disruption of the plot, the two accused persons, according to the prosecutor, attacked Mr Adam a few days after the incident while he was heading home.
The prosecution said Mr Mahama, who was rushed to the hospital, named the two as co-conspirators who poured acid on him in the presence of three witnesses.
Mr Afoko’s lawyers opted not to make an opening statement.
The lawyer for the butcher, who is the second accused person, Mr Andrew Vortia, prayed the court to order the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to allow accord him enough time with his client whenever he went there instead of the usual 15 minutes they have been giving him all this while.
That request was granted by Justice Woode.
The case has been adjourned to July 26.
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