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27.04.2004 General News

General Kotei's sister testifies before NRC

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Accra, April 27, GNA- Mrs Gladys Kokailey Dovlo, sister of the late General Robert Kotei, one of the generals executed in 1979, on Monday said the late Kotei complained about not being given a fair trial before his execution.

Mrs Dovlo, said the late General Kotei asked the wife Nancy, the Kotei family and all Ghanaians "to be happy in his last letter to the family", and that he was not been given a fair trial.

Testifying at a National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) public hearing on Tuesday, Mrs Dovlo, alias nee Kotei, said her brother served at different times as Chief of Defence Staff, Army Commander, and Commissioner for Information, and Housing, when General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong was Head of State. He retired in 1979, she added.

General Acheampong's government, the Supreme Military Council I, which came to of power through a military coup, ruled the country, from January 13 1972 to July 5 1978.

Mrs Dovlo said sometime after the June 4, 1979 coup, that brought the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to power, soldiers stormed his brother's East Cantonments residence, and hurled insults at him when they failed to fire at him.

She said a nephew then staying with the late general rescued him sent him to a friend's house at Kanda.

She said the family sent the late General to the Achimota Police Stations, in response to repeated announcement by the AFRC to political office holders to report, but "soldiers later went to the Police Station and brutalised him when they got to know he was there".

Witness said the late General Kotei later phoned and asked the family not to visit him again, adding that he was then taken to an unknown location, which she suspected was either the Burma Camp or the Nsawam Prisons.

She said the family never saw him again until few days before the execution, when the family was invited to declare any joint assets it had with the General, and added that the soldiers threatened to shoot members of the family if they did not speak the truth.

Mrs Dovlo said her brother left behind nine children, the youngest then being two years old.

She said the late General Kotei was a pillar in the family, and the family was "devastated by his execution".

She prayed the Commission to recommend de-confiscation of all confiscated assets of the late General, including a house at Tema GIHOC. She also prayed the Commission to recommend the payment of pension and benefits due to the brother.

Mr Christian Appiagyei, a Member of the Commission, described the late General Kotei a sportsman of international repute, and he was the holder of the Commonwealth High Jump title, having made six feet and nine inches, which took a long time before being equalled and broken. Mr Appiagyei said: " If for nothing at all Ghana should have recognised what he did to the nation on the world sports map."

Mrs Dovlo thanked the Kufuor administration for the reburial of the mortal remains of the late General Kotei.

General Emmanuel Alexander Erskine, another Member of the Commission, and a former Commander of the United Nations Forces in Lebanon said: "I think the country owes him a lot. He was senior to me. It's a great loss to the country and the Armed Forces. Some of the very best officers were just wiped out, not even being given an unfair trial, but no trial at all."

Mrs Dovlo told the Commission that after the execution of the her brother, soldiers stormed on a number of occasions the bakery and store of her elder sister in the vicinity of the Osu Children's Home in Accra, and sold her wares at reduced prices.

She said the soldiers bundled her sister and her wares into an army truck to the Burma Camp, when she resisted them from selling her ware at the reduced prices.

Witness said her sister made loud noise at the Camp, complaining about the treatment, and she was later released but without her goods. 27 April 04