The second suspect in the murder of the former Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Adams Mahama, has been arrested.
The suspect, Asabke Alangdi, was busted in Cote d’Ivoire on January 25, 2019, following a collaboration between Ghana’s security agencies and Interpol.
In view of this, the Attorney-General (A-G) has filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the trial of Gregory Afoko, the other accused person who had been standing trial for the death of the former regional party chairman.
Alhaji Mahama’s death
Alhaji Mahama suffered severe bodily injuries after a substance suspected to be acid was allegedly poured on him in front of his house in Bolgatanga around 11 p.m. on May 20, 2015. He later died from the injuries at the Bolgatanga General Hospital.
Afoko was arraigned for the former regional party chairman’s death and has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Alangdi, the other accused person, had been at large since the alleged crime was committed.
Briefing the press on the arrest of Alangdi, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said “the fugitive’s arrest came after over a year of surveillance and search during which he moved camps from Burkina Faso to Cote d’Ivoire.
“We expect that in the next 48 hours the suspect will be remanded in police custody and in next 48 hours he will be put before a court for committal trial to begin,” he stated.
The minister stated that Alangdi was the second person believed to have conspired with the first suspect Afoko in the murder of Alhaji Mahama on May 20, 2015.
“It will be recalled that on that day Mr Mahama was attacked in front of his home in Bolgatanga with acid, leading to his death,” he stated.
According to him, investigations revealed that Mr Mahama’s death was allegedly caused by Afoko and Alangdi.
“Alangdi, however, fled the Ghanaian jurisdiction in the days after the murder and has been on the run since.
Ghana’s security agencies have been on a manhunt for him since then.
“Afoko was, however, apprehended by police and has been put on trial since,” he stated, saying the Afoko case had been ongoing in the Accra High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Lawrence L. Mensah, and had been adjourned to February 20, 2019 for lawyers to address the jury.
Retrial of two suspects
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said while the trial had been ongoing, consistent efforts were made to apprehend the fugitive, Alangdi, until he was arrested on January 25, 2019 with the assistance of Interpol.
He pointed out that the arrest of Alangdi had necessitated the filing of a nolle prosequi in respect of the ongoing trial in the case of the Republic Vs Gregory Afoko.
“This has been done about an hour ago with the objective of discontinuing the initial trial to enable the two accused persons to be tried together to best serve the interest of justice.
“Committal proceedings for the two accused persons will commence shortly for them to stand trial as soon as possible,” he stated, pointing out that the two would be charged with conspiracy and murder.
To ensure the speedy trial of the two, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the state intended to pray the Chief Justice to assign a dedicated judge for an expedited trial of the two persons, considering the background of the case.
“Government assures all Ghanaians that it will not relent on any efforts to bring the perpetrators of crimes within this jurisdiction to book,” he added.
The trial of Afoko started in 2016 and was nearing completion after prosecution and the defence closed their respective cases.
On January 26, 2019, his defence closed its case after calling two witnesses — Afoko himself and his elder brother, John Ishmael Afoko — to testify before the court.
Prior to Afoko’s defence, the prosecution, led by a Chief State Attorney, Mr Matthew Amponsah, had called 15 individuals as prosecution witnesses.
With both the prosecution and the defence bringing their cases to a close, the presiding judge, Mr Justice Lawrence Mensah, directed the two parties to file their written addresses.
The defence was directed to file its address on or before February 8, 2019, while the prosecution was directed to file its on or before February 19, 2019.
The defence and the prosecution were directed to address the court orally on February 20 and 21, 2019, respectively.