…As Adams Mahama’s widow takes the witness stand

Lawyers for Gregory Afoko, prime suspect in the ongoing murder trial over the late Adams Mahama, the ruling New Patriotic Party’s former Chairman for the Upper East Region, have nourished their defense with the scandalous fallout from the recent public altercation between Bugri Naabu and Otiko Afisa Djaba.

Yesterday, Osafo Buabeng, counsel for Afoko, drew attention to the accusation that the NPP’s Northern Regional Chairman had leveled against the Gender Minister and the Upper East Regional Minister, before the Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra, officially ushering the Naabu revelations into the court’s records of proceedings.

Readers would recall that in a recent public spat with the Gender Minister, Bugri Naabu, the NPP’s Northern Regional Chairman, had revealed that the murder of the late Adams Mahama had been masterminded by Otiko Djaba and Rockson Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister.

According to Naabu, as part of the plot to perpetrate the dastardly act, in which the late Mahama had been waylaid and attacked with acid in May 2015, Otiko Djaba and Rockson Bukari had held secret meetings in Tamale and Bolga.

Bugri Naabu had subsequently withdrawn the allegations and publicly apologized, obviously under duress, after President Akufo-Addo had summoned both himself and Otiko Djaba to the Flagstaff House. Subsequent to that, a meeting held by the National Council of the NPP had reprimanded both Otiko Djaba and Bugri Naabu and asked them to formally apologize to the party in a written form, as if the allegation of murder leveled by Bugri Naabu was child’s play.

However, the defense team of Gregory Afoko, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of “Conspiracy to Commit Crime, and Murder,” has made it abundantly clear that it will not sit down and allow orchestrations of the ruling party to sweep the Naabu revelations under the carpet.

Examining the widow of Mr. Mahama, Hajia Zenabu Adams, before a seven member jury  and Justice L. L. Mensah yesterday, Osafo Buabeng had queried whether she had heard of the revelations by Bugri Naabu, to which she claimed she had not heard.

Speaking as Prosecution Witness 1, Mrs. Adams claimed that the whole of the well reported spat between Naabu and Otiko, which has been trending for over two weeks, had somehow not come to her notice.

Interestingly, while still under oath, Mrs. Adams had, earlier, emphatically told the court that as the wife of a politician, she was an avid follower of political news.

Counsel for Gregory Afoko, Osafo Buabeng, had not specifically named Otiko Djaba and Rockson Bukari as the persons that had been accused by Bugri Naabu as masterminds of the late Adams Mahama’s murder, but witness’ claim that she was not aware of the spat between the NPP’s Northern Regional Chairman and the Gender Minister shocked the court’s audience.

Mrs. Adams’ interesting claim only pales in comparison to a hasty retreat that Bugri Naabu had beaten after boldly accusing Rockson Bukari and Otiko Djaba of masterminding the Adams Mahama murder.

Mr. Naabu, a known bullish man of his word, had shocked observers with his sudden retraction and apology, after the President had summoned both himself and Otiko Djaba to the Flagstaff House over the spat.

It is worth noting that that strange apology by Naabu, totally uncharacteristic of him, had come after earlier revelations that the ruling party is funding the state’s prosecution of Gregory Afoko.

Indeed, 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 GHc55,000 from the ruling party to, ostensibly, fund the expenses of Anthony Namoo.

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.

Mrs. Adams, while under oath yesterday, also startled the audience with some answers to questions that had been asked her by the foreman of the Jury trying Afoko, even as she, PW1, Zenab Adams, is on record to have accused Gregory Afoko of the murder of her late husband.

Readers would recall that in the same week that Adams Mahama was murdered, Mrs. Adams emerged with the claim that her husband had told her before dying that it was Gregory Afoko who had attacked him with the acid that later led to his death.

Mrs. Adams had also claimed that following the acid attack, her late husband had managed to drive home and that his shouts for help had attracted her attention leading to her helping him out of the car before he was driven to the hospital.

Yesterday, when she was asked whether she had sustained any acid burns as a result of helping lift his late husband out of his car after the attack, she answered in the negative.

The Jury Foreman, who had asked the question, was then told by Mrs. Mahama that she had not sustained injuries, even though her husband had been drenched in pure acid at the time she helped him out because she had been wearing gloves at that same time.

The claims by Mrs. Mahama have left questions in the air as to how she managed to be wearing gloves at the very time that she had stormed out of her house in response to distress calls from her late husband.

Wonder is also in the air about the reflex picture that her own claims of shock at the sight of her husband writhing in pain in his car, creates, just at the time that she came out of the house to help the acid drenched Adams Mahama.

The case has been adjourned to the 18th of May.

Gregory Afoko’s legal team refused to comment on the case after the adjournment, leaving the question as to whether the Naabu revelations would be leveraged further in the defense of Gregory Afoko unknown.

However, the fact that the revelations have officially been ushered into court proceedings is very telling, even as a campaign to arrest Otiko Djaba and Rockson Bukari started hinting into trend over the weekend.

The accused, who is brother of the suspended National Chairman of the NPP, Paul Afoko, remains in prison custody as a rumored intent by his counsel to request for bail, ahead of yesterday’s sitting, did not come happen.

The Republic has heard from sources close to the defense team that the team had indeed intended to request bail for Gregory Afoko, but had later changed its mind. Bail can be requested as many times as possible in the course of a case and at any time at all.

The late Adams Mahama died of extensive acid burns and shock lungs (acute respiratory distress syndrome), according to an autopsy report that resulted from investigations following an acid attack in May 2015.

A car seat on which he had sat during the acid attack had been frazzled due to the corrosive effect of the acid.

Hajia Zenab Adams, wife of the deceased, claimed that in the immediate aftermath of the attack, she had helped her late husband out of the car before he had later been driven to the hospital.

The victim died a day after the attack, with Hajia Zenab later telling the High Court in Accra that her husband had told her that Gregory Afoko had perpetrated the murderous acid attack.

Mr. Afoko denies the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit crime.



Source: / Fiifi Samuels

The Republic News Online

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