Court rejects suspect’s confession

Mrs. Theodora Wood, ChiefJusticeAn Accra Magistrate’s Court yesterday declined an application by George Bernard Shaw, counsel for the six accused persons in connection with of the murder of the two African-Americans at Fihankra, near Akwamufie in the Eastern Region, to include a confession which was made by one of the accused persons to their records.

The two African-Americans were, Mamelina Diop , 75 and Nzinga Jaana 69, who were resident at Fihankra settlement, near Akwamufie.

At the last sitting on May 14, the first accused person, Anokye Yaw Frimpong, a driver, confessed in open court that he was responsible for the murder and not the other five accused persons.

Thus counsel for the six accused persons yesterday urged the court to include the statement in its record of proceedings.

According to him, since the media had already reported the matter, it would inure to their benefit if the court’s record of the proceedings captured the confession.

However, the court, presided over by Veronique Mamford declined the application on the basis that the confession was off record, and adjourned the case to yesterday.

The judge said she had not taken their plea, and the proceedings were over that day so there was no way the confession would be recorded as part of the records.

Noting that the exact words used by the accused person could not be recalled, she therefore, adjourned the case to June 8, to allow the prosecution to forward the docket to the Attorney General’s-Department for advice.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police Francis Baah, informed the court that the third accused person, Nana Obiri Yeboah, a farmer, is currently on admission at the Psychiatric Hospital.

The six accused persons include Anokye Yaw Frimpong, a driver; Nana Appia-Nti, chief of Appiakrom, and Nana Obiri Yeboah, a farmer.

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

Assistant Superintendent of Police Stephen Kwame Adjei, prosecuting, told the court that in 1997, some African –Americans in the diaspora decided to settle at Appiakrom and therefore acquired 218.5 acres of land in the town, now called Fihankra.

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

He said the leader of the group, Olumale Kwadwo Akpan, who installed himself as chief of the area, started issuing indentures and collecting annual rent for the lands allocated to the residents.

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

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

That resulted in the creation of a website where the Akpan families and the deceased were maligned to the diaspora leading to a confrontation, following which their (two) 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, for not fulfilling the arrangement.

The three accused African-Americans and others yet to be arrested, threw their support behind the Appia-Nti family.

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

In April, this year, the three African-Americans and others, now at large, met Nana Appia-Nti and his elders to remind them of their earlier agreements, and promised to have better negotiations with them and also build a storey building as a palace for Nana Appia-Nti if their opponents were evicted.

ASP Adjei said the three African-Americans conspired with Anokye Yaw Frimpong, Nana Appia-Nti and Nana Frimpong, now at large, to move into the community to monitor the activities of the Akpan family and the deceased.

For that purpose, the accused rented an apartment for Anokye Yaw Frimpong, Nana Obiri Yeboah and Nana Frimpong into which they moved 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 fresh grave about 150 metres to Anokye’s maize farm. On May 6, an order was obtained from a district court at Akosombo, and the spot was dug under the supervision of a medical officer from the Volta River Authority (VRA) Hospital at Akosombo.

He said, the bodies of the two women were found buried in a shallow grave which were exhumed and deposited at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital mortuary in Accra for autopsy.

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme

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