Braimah Issaka, an ex-driver for former President Jerry John Rawlings, has defended his former boss over his alleged role in the killing of three High Court judges and a military officer during the PNDC era.
He said, former President Rawlings is innocent of the crime he is being indicted for, adding that persons accusing his boss are ignorant of the facts.
According to Braimah Issaka, though Rawlings was a strict president who hated indiscipline to some level, he did not order the killing of Justice Cecelia Koranteng Addo, Kwadwo Adjei Agyepong, Poku Sarkodie and Major Sam Acquah.
He mentioned Corporal Matthew Adabuga, as one of the witnesses who gave fake accounts of the June 30, 1982 incident.
Adabuga, one of the major architects of the 31st December Revolution testified before the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that Captain Kojo Tsikata, former National Security Advisor and former President Rawlings masterminded the killing of the three High Court Judges and the Army Officer.
He told the NRC when he appeared before the commission in 2004 that he was with the former President when Joachim Amartey Kwei came to inform him he had finished the Judges and the Army Officer, claiming Rawlings popped a champagne upon hearing the news.
But in Rawlings’ defence, the former military driver explained in an interview on KOFI TV that, “He (Rawlings) is innocent. Those of us who were intimate with him know that he played no role in the murders. Adabuga said Rawlings popped champagne. I want you to ask him how the champagne got to the PNDC office at that time. It’s never true.”
According to Braimah, most of the atrocities committed during the military regime were fuelled by some selfish army officers who took advantage of the revolution to commit crime.
Braimah Issaka touted the same man who arrested and jailed him after the 31st December Revolution in 1981 as a “good man” who values humanity and was only committed to transforming and making Ghana a democratic state during his tenure.
“Rawlings was so dedicated to Ghana that whatever means he thinks will promote democracy, he was fighting for it. But the soldiers involved also had a different agenda,” he noted.
The former military driver stressed the revolution period exposed Ghana to several unlawful acts with soldiers putting the laws into their own hands to abuse civilians including the flogging of women who dressed indecently.
“It’s like blaming President Akufo-Addo for troubles being caused by NPP Machomen. Do you believe Nana Addo ordered them to do that? But when these happen, they are labelled as NPP Machomen. It’s the same way people say NDC or PNDC soldiers are under Rawlings but for all you know he’s not aware,” he maintained.
Giving further details of the June 30, 1982 incident, Braimah Issaka could not name where the order came from but categorically stated, “It’s our own boys who planned it. They took money from Seidu Musah. Adabuga collected some in a polythene bag, Giwa took some and when they return they brief Akata-Pore”.
He recalled how Adabuga asked him to fill the tank of one of the cars he (Braimah) used to drive, prior to the night of the murders.
“The day they planned to use the car for their operation, I was home when Adabuga brought me the key to go fill the tank. I asked him why he needs fuel in the car and he told me we’ll be going on patrol. Not knowing they had planned to use it that night for the crime. They planned this with Boakye Airforce Corporal who later went to report them but they all denied,” he claimed.
According to him, Lance Corporal Samuel Amedeka, however, confessed he led the soldiers to commit the murders.
He maintained that, “Nobody mentioned the Rawlings’ name. It is only Lance Corporal Samuel Amedeka who knows those involved in the killing of the judges and he was not ordered by Rawlings. Nobody can point fingers at him.”
Three High Court judges, Justice Cecelia Koranteng Addo, Kwadwo Adjei Agyepong, Poku Sarkodie and a retired army officer, Major Sam Acquah were abducted within curfew hours, shot and burnt on June 30, 1982.
The killings were committed by some young soldiers and ruthless men.
The judges who had arbitrated high profile cases involving the then military government and freed suspects who were brought before them were accused of being bias and corrupt.
The murder of the high profile judges shook the nation leading to the arrest of some of the suspects who were tried and found guilty.
A member of the Provisional National Defence Council, Joachim Amartey Kwei, Lance Corporal Samuel Michael Senyah, ex-soldier Johnny Dzandu, Tony Tekpor, Lance Corporal Gordon Kwowu, Lance Corporal Mama Nsurowua, Lance Corporal Victor Gomeleshio, Sgt. Daniel Alolga Akata Pore were all named as suspects and were jailed.
Four of the then PNDC men, Amedeka, Tony Tekpor, Dzandu and Hekli and an ex-PNDC Members Amartey Kwei were put in Nsawam Medium Prisons and the Ussher Fort Prisons.
Amedeka, however, escaped in a jailbreak and has since not returned to Ghana but his three accomplices were executed by firing squad.