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01.04.2004 General News

Judge exposes bribery scandal in murder case

By GNA

Accra April 1, GNA - Mr Justice G. A. Aryeetey, a Fast High Court Judge, on Thursday made startling revelations after handing down sentences to two people involved in the murder of two brothers and injuring three others during an unrest at Aplaku in Accra six years ago.

The accused persons in the case Francis Tetteh Yartey alias Okumani, 43, Farmer and Tetteh Yartey alias Dan Breaker, 38, also a Farmer, were charged with murder and causing harm, respectively, with offensive weapons.

A seven-member Jury unanimously found them guilty of their respective charges. Okumani was sentenced to death by hanging while Breaker would serve 25 years' imprisonment. They have 30 days to appeal against the sentences.

Mr Justice Aryeetey told the highly packed court that during the trial, he received two visitors carrying an envelope at his residence but marched them out after they had asked him to temper justice with mercy in a murder case before him. The two visitors followed up to the Attorney - General's Department but their offer was rejected. The Trial Judge said that after the two visitors' attempt had failed,

the convicts approached two members of the Jury through the Court's Interpreter, Mohammed Ahmed, to bribe the Jury. He further stated that the accused persons through Ahmed went to the Jury in the case and offered 10 million cedis as bribe for the Jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

A member of the Jury, whose name was withheld confirmed the incident in open court and showed the money, which had been kept until the conviction.

The Trial Judge said he would hand over Ahmed to the Chief Justice for disciplinary action to be taken against him, adding that he could not work with such a person. "I cannot sell justice to any one", he remarked.

Immediately the Judge ended his revelation, the audience in the courtroom clapped their hands and broke into jubilation by pouring powder onto one another. Some of them loudly asked for God's blessing for the Trial Judge. The two convicts were whisked away to begin their respective sentences.

The case fof the Prosecution was that in 1997, Nii Okoso Mensah was enstooled as Chief of Aplaku by Nii Kojo Ababoi, Sempe Mantse and ever since there had been unrest in the village.

The Prosecution said because of the enstoolment, on May 5, 1999, a protracted dispute erupted between the Sempe and Ada factions and during one of the clashes Oko Ofori, Tawiah Ofori and one Amoah lost their lives.

The Prosecution said eight people identified Okumani as the one who shot and killed the two brothers. He also shot one Busua Coffie in the leg and Odartso Botsoe in the breast while Breaker shot Victoria Adams in the leg and she was hospitalised for three weeks.

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