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28.12.2005 General News

Land guards kill top IRS man

By Daily Graphic
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A Senior administrator of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mr Godfrey Cobbinah, has been killed by land guards at Achiaman, near Amasaman. He was 48.

The deceased, who is also an international boxing referee/judge, licensed by the World Boxing Council and the Africa Boxing Union, was gunned down on Boxing Day while on official duty as the president of the Welfare Committee of IRS.

He had visited the conflict and violence- prone area to check on a parcel of land belonging to some employees of the service.

Seven persons, including two women, suspected to belong to the group that killed Mr Cobbinah have been arrested and are assisting the police in their investigations.

According to Mr Alex Akuamoah Boateng, an eye witness, Mr Cobbinah was engaged in a chat with a church elder when a land guard he identified as Mallam Yahya came out of the bush, armed with a pump action gun, walked to where the two men were and fired into the stomach of Cobbinah.

He said Cobbinah fell as a result and tried to get up but the gunman fired two more shots into his stomach in the full glare of all the parties present.

According to Mr Alex Akuamoah Boateng, who is also a member of the Nii Achia Royal stool of Achiaman, there had been a long-standing land dispute between Nii Achia's family and the Clottey family, also of Achiaman.

He said the two families shared a common boundary and there had been a series of clashes between them over the boundary.

Mr Boateng said that there was a breakaway faction from the Nii Achia family, led by Adja Sai and Nii Kwartey Adja, alias Paafio.

He said apart from the IRS, a number of organisations among which are the CEPS, Bank of Ghana (BoG), CSIR and Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) had acquired land at Achiaman.

He said following the misunderstanding between the various factions, Mr Cobbinah impressed upon them to try and smoke a peace pipe because a number of landowners had started developing their lands and needed peace to bring development to the area.

According to him, the other factions were in favour of the suggestion so they decided to meet at a spot on the land on Christmas day to delibrate on the issue.

He said on the agreed day, Cobbina came to Achiaman but the other factions did not turn up, so he left for Accra around 3:30pm.

Mr Boateng said at dawn of the following day, he had a call from Cobbinah who informed him that Delove Yarboye Yartey, a member of the Clottey faction, had agreed that they should meet on Monday.

He said upon the arrival of Mr Cobbinah, they went to the spot with five other family members. On reaching the spot, he said, they saw a 207 Benz bus with a Ghana Apostolic Church inscription on it, which was full of passengers.

Mr Boateng said five cars were following the bus so when it got to where they were standing they signalled to it to stop and they did.

He said Mr Conbinah asked the church members what they were doing there and one of their elders informed him that they had acquired a plot of land there.

According to him, unknown to them, Yarboye and his gang of land guards had laid ambush at the spot and as Cobbinah was talking to the elder of the church, Mallam Yarya came out of the bush and gunned down the victim.

"When I heard the shots, I ran into the bush and Mallam Yarya fired into my Opel record saloon car after which he entered one of the cars and sped off", he said.

After they had left the scene, Boateng said he came out of the bush and rushed to the aid of Cobbinah who was bleeding profusely and also had his intestines out. They then rushed him to the 37 Military Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the Accra Regional Crime Officer, Mr Bright Oduro, the incident was reported to the police around 1:30 pm and a team of policemen were dispatched to the scene.

He said they found blood on the ground, some spent shells and the deceased's Mazda pick-up vehicle with the windscreen smashed.

He said they heard some of the suspects had converged at Palladium in Accra, so they rushed there and seven people were arrested. Investigations are continuing.

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