A Murder In The Colonial Gold Coast: True History of Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah As Is Known To The World [Part 1]

Feature Article Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah
Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah

Murder of Nana Akyea Mensah, Odikro of Akyem Apedwa at Okyemanhene's palace - 28th February, 1944.

1. Nana Akyea Mensah, the Odikro of Apedwa was attacked and gruesomely murdered at the Okyemanhene's palace at Kyebi on 28th February 1944.

2. Dr. J.B. Danquah gave full support to the eight murderers arrested and charged for murdering Nana Akyea Mensah.

3. The defendants included:
a. 1st defendant - Asare Apietu, the Abontendomhene of Akyem.

b. 2nd defendant - Kwesi Pipim - a drummer of the Akyem State.

c. 3rd defendant - Kwame Kagya - a drummer of the Akyem State

d. 4th defendant - Kweku Amoako-Atta, a Superintendent of Akyem Abuakwa Native Authority Police Force.

Most of them were described as 'Sons of the Stool'.

4. Nana Akyea Mensah' body was dismembered and disposed of at the bottom of a stream to hide the evidence.

5. Dr. J.B Danquah, leading the defense team went to great lengths to obstruct justice both in the Gold Coast and United Kingdom.

6. There is ample evidence to the support given to the murderers by the Akyem Abuakwa establishment led by Dr. J. B. Danquah.

The case is revealing for other reasons.
Firstly, the wealth of the Akyem royal family whose kin stood in the dock, accused of gruesome murder, provided the defence with apparently unlimited funding for what was an extremely expensive struggle in the courts of both the Gold Coast and United Kingdom.

In this sense alone this was unusual. Access to cash meant that a criminal trial and its sequels.

The case was contended by five of the highest paid counsel in the Gold Coast, and in Britain was handled by most distinguished Privy Counsel Solicitor, Bryden and before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council by 'Silk' (an expensive Senior Barrister, a King's Counsel)

7. Dr. J. B. Danquah's defense team included Nii Armaah Ollenu, Sarkodie-Addo and Edward Akufo-Addo, father of President Akufo-Addo.

8. Dr. J. B Danquah lost the murder case in spite of the best legal minds assembled, relationship with and deep knowledge of the law and the Akyem Abuakwa establishment.

9. It came as a shock to Dr. J. B. Danquah and the Akyem Abuakwa establishment when a jury of six Gold Coast natives and one European unanimously returned the verdict of guilt at the trial in Accra in November, 1944.

The trial judge was Mr. Justice Mohammed Fuad.
10. Dr. J. B. Danquah and his team engaged in a multiplicity of delay tactics, and appeals deliberately designed to frustrate and undermine the rule of law as well as the Governor by preventing him from carrying out the sentence as required by law.

In the midst of the mounting confusion, the defense demanded further stay of execution while they pursued habeas corpus proceedings serially and before each and every Gold Coast judge.

On 16th February, 1945 Sir Alan Burns telegraphed the colonial office and remarked inter alia "there is every indication of conspiracy on the part of Danquah and his friends to pervert or at least delay the cause of justice.........delay is bringing our judicial system into contempt."

11. J.B. Danquah and his team, immediately after the trial lodged an appeal with the West African Court of appeal from 5th to 15th February, 1945, but the appeal was dismissed.

12. Dr. J. B Danquah and his team moved to London and lodged the first Privy Council appeal against the verdict on the murderers on 5th November, 1945.

But this appeal was also dismissed.
13. Dr. J. B Danquah's appeals and counter appeals were as unprecedented and unexpectedly designed in the hope that the colonial government could be prevailed upon to quash the death sentence but he failed once again.

14. Dr. J. B Danquah and his team took a final stand at the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast between 12th and 23rd September, 1946 where they exhausted their rights of appeal.

15. Dr. J. B. Danquah collaborated with his brother Sir Nana Ofori Atta I and the colonial government to suppress the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (A.B.R.S) and the National Congress for British West Africa (N.C.B.W)

16. Dr. J. B. Danquah had no respect for settler communities such as the Kwahus, Gas, Krobos, Ewes, Northerners, Juaben and Akwapims.

17. Dr. J. B. Danquah called for Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's neck and also rejoiced over his imprisonment in connection with the non-violent Positive Action campaign in 1950 which facilitated the struggle for Ghana's independence on 6th March, 1957.

18. J.B Danquah was not universally loved as events in the latter 1940 and throughout the 1950's were to show more clearly than the uncritical analysis which followed his sad death in cell number 9 at the Special Block of the Nsawam prison on 4th February, 1965 after 13 months in detention.

19. Dr. J. B Danquah who turned into a CIA agent collaborated immensely with the Americans to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ghana, led by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on 6th February, 1966.

Fellow Ghanaians, this is the true story of Dr. J. B Danquah, please disregard any other information about this man seeking to make him an undeserved hero in the political history of the Gold Coast now Ghana.

The Journal of African History, Law and Politics in the 1940's

Vol. 30. No. 3 (1989)
Robert Rathbone
Published by:
Cambridge University press
Prepared by:
Public Affairs and Protocol Directorate, NDC Professionals Forum

Sponsored by the:
NDC Professionals Forum