Gregory Afoko trial: Abdul Malik Kweku Baako trapped with the law

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The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s uncanny meddlesomeness in the ongoing trial of Gregory Afoko over the murder of Adams Mahama, late Upper East regional Chairman of the NPP, has led to the entanglement of Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, with the law.

Lawyers for Gregory Afoko, on Thursday, handed over two voice recordings of an episode of Accra based Peace FM’s current Affairs program, ‘Kokrokoo’, in which Mr. Baako had boasted of knowledge about the contents of the docket of the Afoko case.

Osafo Buabeng, lead Counsel for Gregory Afoko, yesterday told Justice L.L. Mensah of the Criminal High Court in Accra that he was furnishing the court with two voice clips concerning the matter – one that captures the whole of the episode of Kokrokoo in question, and another that captures Baako’s shocking revelation in specificity.

“My lord we are furnishing the court with the two versions of the voice recordings because we don’t want anybody to come and tell us later that the voice had been doctored,” Osafo Buabeng had said to emphasize that the full version of the tape satisfactorily corroborates the short version that features Baako’s voice.

Mr. Baako, a well known advocate of the ruling party, whose newspaper, The New Crusading Guide, is notorious for its crony-journalism in the cause of the NPP, had claimed on ‘Kokrokoo’ that he had seen the docket on the Afoko case.

To buttress his knowledge of the docket, Mr. Baako had mentioned the Chief State Prosecutor, Mathew Amponsah.

It is the case of the defense team of Afoko that that revelation was very prejudicial and shocking as dockets on ongoing cases in court are supposed to remain confidential and only known to the prosecutor.

To them, Kweku Baako’s privileged access to the document and his public citing of same is very injurious in a case that is of utmost public interest.

The defense team had made the concern on its previous appearance in court, sending Mathew Amponsah, the Chief State Attorney, protesting and daring the lawyers of Afoko to produce the tapes.

Yesterday, Osafo Buabeng and his team had presented what was said to be two versions of the Baako tape, wrapped in an envelope, to the court presided over by Justice L.L. Mensah who had concurred that that piece of evidence was crucial.

Justice Mensah, had prior to yesterday’s hearing, also warned the Chief State Attorney to take charge of his office to ensure that his staff do not leak documents on the case to the public.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time it has emerged that people connected to the ruling NPP are being meddlesome in the Afoko case from afar. In what appears to be an ongoing pursuit by the ruling party to get Gregory Afoko, brother of the NPP’s suspended national Chairman, Paul Afoko, jailed at all cost, the ruling party has long worked behind the scenes to influence the case.

In June 2016, The Republic had intercepted a 30th May 2016 memo from the family lawyer of Adams Mahama, Anthony Namoo, to the Acting General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu, which had carried a request for a whopping GHC 55,000 from the ruling party to fund the prosecution of Mr. Afoko. In addition to Mr. Namoo’s expenses, the requested money was also to cover the expenses of some state attorneys handling the case and prosecution witnesses by way of coverage for trips, feeding and accommodation.

The Memo had also outlined the legal processes, the funding requirement and even mapped out the prosecution strategy to the NPP General Secretary.

“We would have to prepare the witnesses for traveling, accommodation, feeding and other incidental expenses. Consequently, we need a budget line in this regard in order to effectively present a solid case before the justice and jurors for a favourable outcome…

“In view of the fact that as many as ten (10) witness are in Bolgatanga, it is more economical to get the prosecution team and the clinical psychologist to Bolgatanga for two (2) days to do pre-trial conference,” the memo had said.

How State Prosecutors turned to report to a ruling party, whose regional Chairman’s murder, was the subject of their prosecution, has left the question of professionalism to the imagination of everybody.

Again, President Akufo-Addo himself has shown crass bias in the Afoko case, refusing to order the police to arrest and prosecute Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba, and Upper East regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, who have been named by the NPP’s Northern regional Chairman, Daniel Bugri Naabu, as masterminds of the 2015 murder of Adams Mahama.

The late Mr. Mahama had been waylaid within the vicinity of his own house in Bolga and attacked with acid leading to his untimely death after he had been rushed to the hospital.

The murder had happened at a time when there was a lot of upheaval from a turf war between the Ashanti bloc and the Akyem Block within the NPP, with then Candidate Akufo-Addo, who was leading the Akyem block, working to get Paul Afoko, brother of Gregory Afoko, removed as the NPP’s National Chairman because Afoko was deemed to be aligned to the Ashanti bloc within the party.

In fact, almost immediately Paul Afoko had been elected Chairman of the NPP in April 2014, Bugri Naabu, the NPP’s Northern regional Chairman, had been caught on a secret tape saying at a meeting that everything would be done to remove Paul Afoko as he said Afoko would not pursue the interest of Akufo-Addo.

The revelation by Naabu had led Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Editor of the Insight newspaper, to prophesy that both Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong, suspended General Secretary of the NPP, would not last in office to complete their terms.

Selfsame Bugri Naabu is the one who recently revealed that the murder of Adams Mahama had been masterminded by Otiko Djaba and Rockson Bukari, and that in plotting the dastardly act, they had held secret meetings in Tamale and Bolga.

Since the revelation, the President has only forced Bugri Naabu and Otiko Djaba to apologize for starting the quarrel that led to the spillage of the revelation in the first place.

The defense team of Gregory Afoko, have since notified the court of Bugri Naabu’s revelations.

Yesterday, Osafo Buabeng, lead defense Counsel, had continued the cross examination of Zuweira Issaka, a neighbor of the late Adams Mahama.

The witness had said while in the house of the late Adams Mahama, immediately after the acid attack, she noticed that the deceased had been stretched on a bed with his chest region burnt through to his lower stomach with acid. Strangely however, she said she could not tell if Adams Mahama’s face had been burnt by the acid or not even though in a previous appearance before the court, she had claimed that the late Mahama had made a whispery narration of the whole attack to her.

She had concurred with defense counsel though that by the time she got to the scene, it was lights out in the area.

She said she had accompanied the people that took the late Mahama to the hospital and that when they got there, the deceased had been able to seat himself in a wheel chair that had been used to transport him to an Emergency section of the hospital.

Madam Issaka also confirmed that while at the hospital, she had gone to get a hospital card prepared for the deceased.

In the course of the cross-examination however, Chief State Attorney, Mathew Amponsah, had resorted to guerrilla tactics – anytime his witness answered a question asked her by the defense lawyer in a way that betrayed incoherence of evidence, he would make a sudden incursion into the flow of the questioning.

This would generate disagreement between himself and the defense counsel and as if it is a carefully rehearsed strategy, the banter between the lawyers would afford the witness time to think through the answer she had just given. By the time questioning resumed, the witness would have rehabilitated her answer.

The continued deployment of this trick eventually angered defense counsel, who complained to the judge, causing the judge to caution the Chief State Attorney.

The case has been adjourned to 15th June.

Source: Fiifi Samuels|| 

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