General News of Thu, 21 Jun 20183

Juror missing at Major Mahama’s trial

An Accra High Court has adjourned the case involving 14 persons who have been accused of murdering Maxwell Mahama at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region.

The presiding judge, Justice Mariama Owusu put the case, which was scheduled for 10 am yesterday, on hold when it came to her attention that a juror was absent.

Moments later, the case was called again but the juror was still not available, compelling the court to adjourn the matter.

No reasons were given for her absence, and this apparently did not go down well with the defence lawyers, who were expected to cross-examine the second prosecution witness.

The presiding judge suggested that she could have been affected by torrential rains which hit Accra yesterday.

Witnesses

The prosecution, led by Evelyn Keelson, a chief state attorney, has so far presented two witnesses who have given their testimonies about the gruesome murder of the soldier.

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WO2 Kwesi Sabi, the first prosecution witness in the trial, told the court that they were deployed to the town to protect the staff and property of C&G Mining Company.

After ending his evidence-in-chief, he was grilled by defence lawyers, who made allegations in relation to their deployment.

The defence lawyer, Patrick Anim-Addo, has blamed the gruesome murder of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama on the military’s ‘secret’ presence at Diaso in the Central Region to protect a mining company.

According to him, the residents did not even know that the men were personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces.

Another defence lawyer, George Bernard Shaw, also accused the military of providing security to C&G Mining Company, which he claimed did not have a valid licence from the Minerals Commission to operate.

During cross-examination of WO2 Kwesi Sabi, the first prosecution witness in the trial, Mr Anim-Addo wondered whether the soldiers were in Daiso in the name of the Ghana Army or as private contractors.

Although the witness told the court that they were in the town under the instructions of the Ghana Army, he said he cannot categorically state that their presence caused the death of Major Mahama.

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He told the court that he could also not tell whether police officers in Denkyira Obuase knew about their presence in the town.

WO2 Sabi stated that the military detachment was not in Diaso to fight illegal mining (galamsey) as speculated when the incident happened, but were instructed to protect the staff and properties of C&G mining company.

“I was sent there by my bosses and I was not told why they needed protection,” he told the court.

When the lawyer suggested to him that they could have been sent there to protect the company from wild elephants, WO2 Sabi replied, “I cannot say yes or no.”

The witness, who was Major Mahama’s second in command, astounded the court when he stated that he does not know the location of the C&G Mining Company despite being in Diaso for three months.

“You don’t know where the company was located yet you were protecting them?” the lawyer asked, and the witness answered in the affirmative.

The witness said they only wore their uniforms on the day they arrived in the town and the final day of the mission.

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He also told the court that he was not aware Major Mahama was mistaken for an armed robber by the assailants.

In answering a question on how one Mr. Donald, who is the director of the mining company, got his number and allegedly called him (WO2 Sabi) to inform him about the death of Major Mahama, he said, “The commander and the 2ic took our numbers and gave them to the officials of the company.”

“I did not see Mr. Donald until the next day after we deposited the body of deceased at the morgue.”

The soldier said he could not tell the mood of Mr Donald at the time of the incident, but he was furious.

He was discharged by the court, presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, an Appeal Court judge sitting as an additional High Court Judge.

The prosecution is expected to present its second witness on June 12, 2018.

Background

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Major Maxwell Mahama was killed by a mob at Denkyira Obuase, where he was on detachment duties.

The deceased army captain was on a 20-kilometre walk when he was reportedly mistaken for an armed robber by some women from whom he stopped to buy snails.

Fourteen suspects have been arraigned before an Accra High Court for allegedly murdering the late Major Mahama.

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