THREE people arrested by the police in connection with the murder of the Chief of Chinto, Nana Kofi Mankata and his driver at Adoagyiri in Nsawam in the Eastern Region, were put before court last Thursday.
They are Nana Fianko III, 29, farmer, also a nephew of Nana Mankata; Abusuapanin Joseph Kwabena Opare, 47, farmer and Nii Odarlai Quarshie, 49, businessman.
They were remanded in police custody by the magistrate’s court presided over by Madam Benadine Senoo to assist in further investigations.
The accused persons were charged on two counts of conspiracy to commit crime, to wit murder, contrary to section 23 (1) of Act 29/60 and murder, contrary to section 46 of Act 29/60 of the Criminal Code.
Their pleas were not taken and they are to re-appear in court on April 17.
Prosecuting, Chief Inspector Isaac Agbemehia told the court, that the three accused persons and others at large, hatched a plan at Nii Quarshie’s office at Achimota and contracted a ‘hitman’ now at large, to kill the late chief in order to have access to the throne”.
The prosecutor said it was also gathered that Nathaniel Aryee, one of the suspects on the run took the assailant to the late chief’s house to monitor the chief and eventually shot and killed the two.
He said the three accused were arrested and during interrogations, they admitted holding a meeting at Nii Quarshie’s office but, however, denied any plot to kill the late chief.
He said that the deceased, Nana Kofi Mankata,54, was the chief of Chinto, a village near Dobro in the Eastern Region since 2005, while Richard Asante,38 was the late chief’s personal driver.
Chief Inspector Agbemehia said on March 2015 at about 12:00pm, the late chief and his driver left Adoagyiri to Nsawam for the funeral rites of the mother of the Nsawam Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Annor Dompreh.
He said about 8:30 pm, the deceased returned to Adoagyiri from the funeral and the driver parked the vehicle at its usual parking place on the shoulders of the road and about 59 metres to the chief‘s house.
The prosecutor said the deceased got down from the vehicle and walked towards the house, adding that few metres to the house, the chief and his driver were killed by an armed man who had laid ambush in the area and fled.
He said preliminary investigations revealed that ever since Nana Mankata was installed as a chief in 2005, the suspects challenged his legitimacy and persistently prevented him from holding himself as a chief.
Chief Inspector Agbemehia said two years into his reign, he was sued at the Koforidua High Court and summoned before Aburiman Divisional Council.
“The case was later withdrawn from the court and Aburiman Council went into the case and ruled that the deceased should hold himself as a chief Chinto,” he said.
He said later, the Aburiman Council wrote another letter confirming the deceased as the legitimate chief of Chinto but, the accused vehemently opposed the decision.
Chief Inspector Agbemehia said one of the accused persons, Abusuapanin Opare and others installed Nana Fianko III, as a rival chief on December 19, 2013.
He said anytime Nana Mankata acted as chief in that capacity, the accused persons always organised thugs to chase him away.
Chief Inspector Agbemehia said the deceased also continued to hold himself as a chief which led to series of threat of death on his life.
He said Nana Mankata’s house and property were vandalised at Chinto and the issue was reported to the police and some people were arrested and are before the court.
The prosecutor said sensing danger, the deceased relocated from the village to rent an apartment at Adoagyiri and visited the village occasionally.
“In September 2014, Nana Fianko threatened to kill the late chief and he reported the case to the Nsawam Police,” he said.
Chief Inspector Agbemehia said on September 3, the deceased chief petitioned the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on the same threatening case against Nana Fianko III which was under investigations.
He said on December 3, the late chief and his elders went to install a family head by name Samuel Afful at Chinto and while the ceremony was in progress, Nana Fianko II and Abusuapanin Opare and other land guards, armed with weapon, led by Nathaniel Aryee (at large), went to the house and attacked his family members.
The prosecutor said they burnt two motorbikes belonging to the late chief’s children, ransacked the chief’s room and stole items including laptop, computer, mobile phones, clothes and threatened to kill the late chief if they had met him.
He said the case was reported at Nsawam Police Station and Aryee was arrested, adding that he was put before court and remanded in custody but was granted bail, a month later.
He said the chief and his driver were later killed.
By Anita Nyarko