State prosecutors in the trial of Gregory Afoko, the younger brother of the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Paul Afoko, who is standing trial for allegedly killing the Upper East regional chairman of the party, Adams Mahama, yesterday preferred fresh charges against the suspect.
Gregory Afoko, a farmer, 50, and Issah Musah, a driver, are before the Accra Central Magistrate Court, standing trial in connection with the fatal acid attack on Adams Mahama.
According to the prosecution led by Supt Francis Baah, the accused persons on May 20, 2015 at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region intentionally and unlawfully caused the death of Adams.
The court was inundated with family members of the suspects who were very hostile to the media.
Gregory, who appeared in court yesterday with his dreadlocks shaved, is facing the charges of conspiracy and murder, while Issah has been slapped with the charge of abetment.
Issah was arrested for allegedly procuring the deadly acid.
The two, and an accomplice, Asabke Alangdi, currently on the run, were said to have conspired to and murdered Mr Adams.
According to the police, Issah, a member of the NPP, on the 19th of May, 2015, procured acid which he gave to the other two accused persons who in turn poured the acid on Adams.
Alangdi had been on the run, together with his wife, leaving behind their one-and-half-year-old baby.
Appearing before the trial magistrate Worlanyo Kotoku, the plea of the accused persons was not taken.
Issah Musah covering his face
Alfred Adjei Mensah, one of the four lawyers for the accused persons, said the court must admit his client (Issah) to bail pending the determination of the case.
He said the charge of abetment preferred against the accused person by the prosecution was bailable, indicating that the law would only oust the discretion of the judge in cases of murder.
Adjei Mensah stated that the liberties of Issah had been curtailed because an unknown source had reportedly told the police that his client sought to procure acid on May 19, 2015.
He said his client had an alibi in respect of that fact, adding that Issah was not in the jurisdiction at that material time he (Issah) was purported to have procured the acid.
In view of this, Adjei Mensah said the prosecution had failed to link Issah to Gregory and Alangdi, except to say that all the accused persons were members of the NPP.
The lawyer said Issah had no knowledge of the offence for which he had been arraigned before the court.
On Gregory, he said he also had an alibi and that he was nowhere near the scene of the incident.
Supt Baah, quoting Section 96 (7) of the criminal code, stated that the court must not grant bail because the accused persons could hamper the investigations by the police.
He said the grant of bail was at the discretion of the court but the court was guided by law.
Supt Baah said the court, in granting bail, must consider the nature and the severity of the offence.
He reminded the court that Ghanaians were looking up to the police for the outcome of the investigations in respect of the case.
Mr Kotoku however deferred the ruling on the bail application until June 23, 2015 and remanded the two into BNI custody.
According to the charge sheet, Gregory Afoko, after his arrest, was asked to lead the police to the house of his accomplice, Asabke Alangdi, but 'he rather took them to the father's house. Police later located the house of the second accused but the suspect had got wind of their presence and absconded with his wife leaving behind their baby.
'A gallon, which contains some of the substance and a plastic cup, were retrieved at the scene for forensic examination,' the charge sheet added.
The police revealed that a 'post-mortem examination was conducted on the body of the deceased and the pathologist gave the cause of death as shock lungs and extensive acid burns.'
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson