Court adjourns African-Americans’ murder case

An Accra Magistrate’s Court has adjourned to June 30, the case of the murder of two African–Americans, Mamelina Diop , 75 and Nzinga Jaana, 69, pensioners from the American Civil Service, residing at Fihankra, near Akwamufie.

This followed the absence of the prosecution in court.

Counsel for the accused persons, together with four of five other accused persons who have been granted bail by an Accra Humans Rights Fast Track High Court, were present in court.

However, the prosecution and Anokye Yaw Frimpong, one of the accused who is still in police custody after his confession to the police and in open court, were absent.

Against this backdrop, the court, presided over by Veronique Mamford, adjourned the case to June 30.

The five accused persons currently on bail are two Ghanaians, Nana Appia-Nti, a mechanic and Chief of Appiakrom and Nana ObiriYeboah, a farmer, who is currently on admission at the psychiatric hospital.

The remaining three, all African- Americans are Brenda Kareema Mohammed, a female pensioner, Yazid Alazim Mohammed, a businessman and Mensah Kamauogogo, a surgeon assistant.

Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police, (ASP) Stephen Kwame Adjei told the court that the deceased persons, Mamelina Diop , aged 75 and Nzinga Jaana both pensioners from the American Civil Service resided at Fihankra settlement, near Akwamufie.

He said in 1997, some African –Americans in the diaspora decided to settle in Appiakrom and as a result acquired 218.5 acres of land in Appiakrom, now called Fihankra, near Akwamufie.

ASP Adjei said the group in agreement, prior to the acquisition of the land, promised to build schools, a hospital, a stadium, provide potable water, and other amenities for the community.

He said the leader of the group, Olumale Kwadwo Akpan, who had made himself a traditional chief of the area, started issuing indentures and collecting annual rents for the lands allocated to the residents.

He said after his death in May 2009, his wife, Majewa Adoujokroke Akpan , the son, Goloi Osakwe Dwamena Akpan, and the deceased persons took over the management of the fund.

The three accused African-Americans revolted against that arrangement and accused the Akpan family and the two deceased persons of fraud and mismanagement.

The disagreement resulted in the creation of a website where the Akpan families and the deceased were maligned to the diasporans leading to a confrontation which severed the cordial relationship, and their (two deceased) lives were threatened by the accused persons.

The prosecutor said in 2003, the Appia-Nti family filed a civil suit against the Fihankra community at the Koforidua High Court over the acquisition of the land and for not fulfilling their promise.

The three accused African-Americans and others yet to be arrested supported the Appia-Nti family in the case.

According to ASP Adjei, they (African-Americans) met with Nana Appia-Nti III, one of the accused, and his elders to find a way of evicting the Akpan family from the community.

In April, this year, the three African-Americans and others now at large, again met Nana Appia-Nti and his elders to remind them of their earlier agreements and promised better negotiations with them and also promised putting up a storey building for Nana Appia-Nti for use as a palace, if the two deceased persons are evicted.

ASP, Adjei told the court that in the heat of the disagreement, the three African-Americans conspired with Anokye Yaw Frimpong, Nana Appia-Nti and Nana Frimpong who was at large to move into the community to monitor the activities of the Akpan family and the deceased persons.

The accused African-Americans later rented an apartment for Anokye Yaw Frimpong, Nana Obiri Yeboah and Nana Frimpong for that purpose and they moved into it about nine months ago.

He said on May 5, Mamelina Diop and Nzinga Jaana were reported missing and a report was made to the Akosombo Police.

A search led to the discovery of a freshly dug grave about 150 metres to Anokye’s maize farm, and on May 6, an order was obtained from a district court in Akosombo and the spot was dug out under the supervision of a medical officer from the Volta River Authority Hospital.

He said the dug out revealed the bodies of the deceased persons in a shallow grave.

The bodies were exhumed and deposited at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital mortuary pending autopsy.

ASP Adjei said investigations led to the arrest of the accused persons with Anokye Yaw Frimpong confessing to the crime, while the others denied their involvement.

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme      

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