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06.04.2007 General News

Asafo group storms high court


Scores of sympathizers, mostly teachers and 'asafo' groups from Woe in the Keta District of the Volta region, yesterday thronged the premises of the High Court in apparent solidarity with ongoing efforts by the Judiciary to effect justice.

This was in relation to the case in which four people are standing trial in connection with the disappearance of one Wilson Tenu, a teacher at the Salvation Army School of Woe on September 9, 2006.

The sympathizers, who were clad in red bands and clothes, landed at the court premises in the early hours of the day in about 10 fully loaded buses, chanting war songs, perhaps with the expectation of a favourable ruling in the case that most of them considered was being dragged unnecessarily.

No sooner had the proceedings of the court begun at around 10:00am than the anxious crowd thronged the court room, filling it to capacity, with no space for even a needle to go through.

The court, presided over by a High Court Judge, A. A. Agbaga was considering a motion filed by counsel for the accused persons that a bail be granted them, pending further investigation.

Three of the four suspects, namely Osofogah Kwablagah, a herbalist, Tete Fiagbor, a fisherman and Fred Mawuli Alixe, a driver arrested in connection with the case and charged respectively with conspiracy, kidnapping and possession of stolen property in February this year, had since been in prison custody, pending further police investigation into the case.

In his defense of the application, Mr. Charles Hayibor, one of the counsels for the accused persons told the court that the detention of the suspects constituted an infringement on their fundamental human rights since the prosecution had not provided any concrete evidence against them.

He contended that kidnapping, which was one of the charges against the accused, was not an offence that should not attract bail, and described the continuous detention of suspects as fragrant disregard of their rights.

He therefore prayed the court to consider the allegation against the accused persons as mere suspicions without any basis, since nobody could establish whether the missing teacher was still alive or not.

This application was however brushed aside by the court, which later granted an application by the Chief State Attorney, Felicia Okyere Darko, for an order from the court to enable the police carry out more intensive investigations into the case while the suspect remained in custody.

She stated that in an affidavit from the Anloga Magistrate Court, it was indicated that one of the accused, Osofogah Kwablagah operated a secret cemetery which the police would have to consider in their investigations.

The Judge, after considering all the submissions, granted the police an order to find out whether the alleged secret cemetery really existed and whose it was.

He asked that they found out who had been buried in the said cemetery and go ahead to exhume the bodies that had been buried there.

The court further asked the police to submit a report on the findings of the exercise to the court at its next sitting.
The case has been adjourned to Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

The case as presented by the police was that on September 9 last year, at around 7:00 pm, Mr. Wilson Tenu, the victim, informed his friend (whose name was not mentioned) that he was going out with Tete Fiagbor, one of the suspects, to deliver money to somebody.

The friend remained in the house until 5:30 am the following day when Tete returned to the house and knocked on her door, asking of Tenu, but the friend reminded him (Tete) that he had gone out with him (Tenu) the previous day.

However, Tete told her that they could not go to deliver the money, since they got somebody whom they had sent.
Later, Tete allegedly came back to Tenu's friend and demanded ¢10,000.00 which he was given. Since then, the teacher could not be traced.

Several calls on his cell phone proved futile until his landlord called again another day and Hovey Akpalu, one of the suspects responded.

He was later arrested and interrogated by the police, to whom he mentioned Osofogah Kwablagah as the one who sold the cell phone to him.

Later, Fred, the suspected driver was also arrested upon information that he was seen carrying the missing teacher's bicycle.

Source: Daily Guide