To fully appreciate the decision by Justice Merley Afua Wood, of the Ghana High Court, to rescind the earlier decision by another High Court Judge, Justice George Buadi, to grant a bail bond to Mr. Gregory Afoko, the prime suspect in the brutal assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama, then Chairman of the Upper-East Region’s branch of the then main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ardent critics of the second judge, that is, Justice Wood, need to fully appreciate the full details of the facts and the set of circumstances that prompted the decision by Justice Buadi, in the first instance, to grant the quite humongous bail bond of some GHȻ 500,000 or a half-million cedis to the defendant. We shouldn’t just facilely assume that, somehow, Justice Buadi made a divinely ordained perfect decision.
Now, it is also worth noting that per Ghana’s general economic standards, a half-million cedis, New Cedis, that is, is absolutely no cakewalk or easy walk in the park, as it were, for any individual or even group of individuals to cough up or fork up. What the preceding clearly means is that the first High Court Judge involved with the case, Justice Buadi, in granting a bail bond to Mr. Afoko, appears to have fully taken cognizance of the fact that the prime suspect in the acid-slaying of Mr. Adams Mahama was of a considerable security risk to both the court and the country at large.
Now, the second most logical step is to familiarize oneself with the details of the evidence presented by Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo and her legal representatives and assigns to Justice Wood, as to make the latter jurist promptly decide to rescind Justice Buadi’s earlier decision to grant a bail bond to the defendant. We must also take critical cognizance of the fact that the legal status of Mr. Afoko has significantly changed from that of a mere “criminal suspect” to that of a “defendant” or “criminal defendant,” meaning that at least for the nonce, the evidence before the court clearly suggests that Mr. Afoko may very well have committed the crime or crimes whose charges have been preferred against him or he squarely stands accused of. You see, nobody can simply walk onto the streets or have somebody enter his/her house and accuse the homeowner or host of just about any criminal offence. There ought to be some forensically credible evidence strongly connecting the accused to the crime in question. Of course, it bears equally observing that Mr. Afoko is still is criminal suspect until he is ultimately proven guilty or not guilty, which is very different from being “innocent,” by the way.
Equally significant is the fact that his humongous bail bond incontrovertibly points to the fact that even Justice Buadi, the judge who initially granted the bail bond to Mr. Afoko, inescapably believed that the defendant brought before his court had some really tough questions to answer before both his legitimately constituted court of adjudication and the larger court of Ghanaian society and public opinion. In sum, Mr. Afoko is not exactly the sort of “innocent” Ghanaian citizen that the lawyer Mr. Francis-Xavier Sosu would have the rest of the country and the world believe the criminal defendant to be. We underscore the preceding facts of the case because Mr. Sosu has been widely quoted to have counseled Mr. Afoko, in a radio interview that the former reportedly granted a Bolgatanga-based radio station called Yem Radio, to embark on a hunger strike and adamantly refuse to back down until the prime suspect loses consciousness and dies, should a bail bond continue to be denied him (See “Go on Hunger Strike – Lawyer Tells Gregory Afoko” MyNewsGh.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/16/19).
The preposterous logic here is that, then the blood of the deceased would be on the hands of Attorney-General Akuffo and the rest of the membership of the Akufo-Addo cabinet. Here again, ought to be emphatically noted for the benefit of both Mr. Sosu and those critics who reason like this young grossly misguided lawyer, that Mr. Afoko is absolutely not a “political prisoner” of the commonplace kind who stands accused of ideologically bucking Ghana’s democratic culture or the commission of a crime that is far different from the acid-dumping brutal assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama. Even more damning must be observed the fact that according to police investigators, shortly before he valiantly gave up his hard and painful battle against the proverbial Leveler, Mr. Mahama had personally let on to police investigators, in the solemn presence of some of his own family members and a couple of colleagues and political associates, that it was, indeed, Mr. Gregory Afoko, the younger brother of the widely known archnemesis of the deceased, that is, Mr. Paul Afoko, then National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, who had poured the gallon, or so, full of acid on him while the deceased was within earshot of parking in front of his apartment building in Bolgatanga.
So far, what is missing from the flurry or tidal wave of criticisms unleashed against Justice Merley Afua Wood and Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo, is the fact that absolutely none of these obnoxiously vociferous critics has based his/her judgment or opinion on any relevant details of the ongoing trial of the defendant. Which leaves one wondering whether, indeed, Ghana is a nation of highly educated and respectable thinkers or intellectually lazy wishful thinkers.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 20, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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