Police accused of trying wrong suspects of Asawase

Defence counsel in the case of the murdered New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist has accused the police of prosecuting the wrong people.

Mr. Kwame Owusu Sekyere, counsel for Usman Issah and Hajia Wasila Gariba, alleged that the police are prosecuting innocent people, instead of those whom the police’s own investigations had concluded were responsible for the murder of Abubakar Saddique, the NPP activist at Asewase in Kumasi.

The two, who were standing trial alongside Alhassan Issah and Bawa Musa at a Kumasi Magistrate Court, presided over by Mr. Korkor Achaw Owusu, are charged with murder.

Abubakar Saddique, 37, a spare parts dealer at Suame Magazine, died out of multiple wounds, after he was stabbed several times in a revenge attack at the party’s constituency office by other supporters believed to belong to a rival faction.

NPP Asawase Constituency Chairman, Isaac Brenya, was also arrested but was granted bail, while three others, Mohamadu, also known as Duna, Papa, Alibu and Big Man escaped arrest and the police had posted a GH¢30,000 for any information leading to their arrest.

In court yesterday, Sergeant Michael Koole, who held brief for the prosecutor, Chief Supt. Emmanuel Akonnor, prayed the court to remand the accused in prison custody because the court lacked the powers to grant them bail and also because the police were yet to conclude investigations into the matter.

However, Mr. Sekyere thought remanding them was unlawful because Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Kofi Boakye, Ashanti Regional Police Commander had publicly announced the names of the ‘killer(s)’ and that his clients were not part of the names mentioned.

He said doing so would be arbitrary because none of his clients had been ‘heavily’ linked to the actual murder, and said Wasila Gariba was even sick and needed prompt and regular medical attention.

To substantiate his claim, Mr. Sekyere, sought the court’s permission to play an audio tape to that effect but was stopped by Mr. Korkor Achaw Owusu.

Sergeant Koole opposed the counsel’s claims, arguing that the said ‘Kofi Boakye tape’ could not be authenticated because it was not yet in court.

Mr. Achaw Owusu said the arguments of both the counsel and the prosecutor made sense but said he needed to save his face by following the law and also lacked the powers to grant bail to murder suspects.

He thus, remanded Usman Issah, Alhassan Musa, and Bawa Musa to prison custody until December 7, but asked that Wasila Gariba be sent to police custody.

Prosecuting, Sergeant Michael Koole said on November 6, executives of the NPP throughout the country, including Asawase Constituency went to the NPP headquarters in Accra to demonstrate and present a petition to the party to reinstate their suspended National Chairman, Paul Afoko.

While the demonstration was ongoing, other party executive members at Asewase, who were witnesses to the case, organised a press conference to distance the constituency from that move and went on to lock up the constituency office.

At about 12 p.m., that same day, accused persons, some of whom took part in the demonstration returned from Accra and forced the office opened. This brought a misunderstanding between the deceased and other members of the party, including the accused persons.

In the process, the accused pounced on the deceased and subjected him to severe beatings and stabbed him in the chest, killing him instantly.

He said the deceased was rushed to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead by a medical officer, after which the body was deposited in the hospital’s morgue.

Then on November 9, 2015, autopsy was conducted by Dr. Isaac Nsiah Lartey who confirmed that the interim course of death were haemorrhagic shock, sharp edge penetrating chest injury and suspected assault.

In the accused person’s respective cautioned statement, they denied the offence.

From Kingsley E. Hope & Gideon Botwe, Kumasi

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