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03.11.2008 Crime & Punishment

Teacher to hang for murder

The Accra Fast Track High Court last Friday, sentenced a golf teacher, Noble Adu-Gyamfi to death by hanging after it convicted him of murdering Mr Paul Figali, a French-Lebanese national.

Noble murdered Mr Figali, who was the Chief Executive of Imexco Ghana Limited in August 2005, stole the deceased's Nissan Murano vehicle, removed the vehicle's number plates and threw them into a bush but was arrested barely four hours after the incident.

The deceased was later found in a bush at Lashibi, a suburb of Accra with a deep wound on his head.

Noble, who was the golf teacher of the deceased, fell out with the deceased after he allegedly accused Noble of stealing his (deceased's money). An unidentified accomplice of the convict is on the run.

Noble, who is in his late 20s was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy and murder by his peers but he informed the court before his conviction that "I am not guilty of the offence. I am innocent in this case. Mine was to drive the car and follow instructions".

He has 30 days to appeal against his conviction.

The convict was initially arraigned together with Relwan Zakkour and a mason named Amuzu at the Accra District Magistrate's Court but the two were later acquitted and discharged.

They were then used as prosecution witnesses alongside six others who testified against Noble.

A seven-member jury in a unanimous decision returned the verdict of guilt against the convict after the trial judge, Mr Justice E.K. Ayebi, summed up the evidence led by the prosecution as well as the defence put up by the convict.

Initially, the jury could not reach a verdict after deliberating for more than 30 minutes.

They went back to the courtroom for re-direction from the court, went into deliberation and eventually came back to the courtroom with the verdict of guilt against Noble.

Some family members of Noble wailed and cursed upon his conviction.

One family member who spoke Ga amidst tears questioned "how much did you pay for this to be done to Noble? You are wicked. God will punish you," without directing his queries to anyone in particular.

The facts of the case were that Noble murdered Mr Figali, dumped him in a bush and drove the vehicle off to a prosecution witness' house with his accomplice.

He gave GH¢10 to the mason to watch the vehicle for him while he went out to take care of a few things.

Noble returned in a taxi but could not get down at where he left the vehicle because he noticed that he was being trailed.

According to the prosecution, Noble ordered the taxi driver to drive off but the taxi's movement was impeded by an articulated truck, thereby forcing it to stop.

Noble got down from the taxi and attempted to escape but he was apprehended by an angry mob which was suspicious of his demeanour.

He was later saved by a police officer who chanced on the scene and later handed him over to the authorities.

The keys to the deceased's car was later found in Noble's possession.

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