Friday, July 02, 2010

Judges’ ghosts haunt NDC

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 1, 2010
The ghosts of the three High Court judges and a retired army officer murdered in the heat of the Jerry John Rawlings-led Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) revolution appear to be haunting key members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), an offshoot of the PNDC.

It seems the ghosts appeared at the Christ the King Catholic Church on the Switchback Road in Accra yesterday where the 28th Remembrance Day Service popularly called the “Martyrs’ Day” in memory of the murdered judges was held.

Drama unfolded when Ebo Barton-Oduro, Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice mounted the pulpit to read the second scripture on behalf of Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, his boss who was absent at the programme.

The (P)NDC had never been part of the Martyrs’ Day celebration. Their presence yesterday was perhaps the first time that they participated in the ceremony.

When Chief Justice Georgina Wood finished reading the first scripture, it was the turn of the Deputy Attorney General to do the second reading. The Very Reverend Father Andrew Campbell, the parish priest officiating, was seen indicating to the deputy minister the portion he was supposed to read from the church’s Bible which was already on the lectern.

The Minister, whose scripture was 2nd Corinthians 12: 31 – 13:13, kept fumbling with words and continuously repeating what he had already read. Apparently frustrated by his own faux-pas, the Minister at a point abandoned the Bible he was reading from, walked to his seat which was directly opposite the pulpit and brought his personal Bible to continue the reading to the amazement of the congregation.

Strangely, when he returned to read from his Bible which had a wine cover, he did not read Corinthians but read the Gospel According to John.

The bizarre spectacle brought about murmurings from the congregation which included judges, lawyers and family members of the deceased persons.

Later in his sermon titled ‘Forgiveness” Rev. Father Campbell said truth and honesty were missing in the country; and that accounted for the nation’s under-development.

He said “if everybody in Ghana can have the same principle of truth and honesty we will not be a developing country.”

He said “God has blessed us with wonderful natural resources but because we are all interested in money and possession we have not been able to put them to good use.”

He stressed the need for forgiveness saying “when we refuse to forgive we put chains around ourselves. Forgiveness is a difficult process but if you want to go further in life you have to forgive.”

Rev. Father Campbell described the deceased as people who “showed honesty and complete transparency,” and asked everybody to pray for their souls.

Twenty-eight years ago, on June 30, 1982, three High Court judges, Ju
stice Fred Poku Sarkodee, Justice Cecilia Afran Koranteng-Addow and Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong and a retired Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah were abducted at night during the curfew hours. Their bodies were on July 1, 1982 found in a state of decomposition at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.

Their bodies had been doused with petrol and set on fire but divine intervention, through raindrops that night; quenched the burning bodies before they were discovered.

The PNDC, publicly declaring itself to be horrified by the crime; and yielding to strong public pressure, appointed a Special Investigation Board (SIB) with a former Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe, as Chairman, to investigate the murders.

The inquiry is noted for the courage and professional expertise of its main investigator, Mr. J.J Yidana, an officer of the Ghana Police Service. The SIB submitted its report and was published along with a Government White Paper.

The SIB made a number of findings leading to the prosecution of Joachim Amartey Kwei, a member of the PNDC, L/Cpls Samuel Amedeka, Samuel Michael Senyah, Johnny Dzandu, an ex-soldier and Tekpor also an ex-soldier.

For the past twenty-eight years, the Bar and Bench have mourned the death of those martyrs of the rule of law.

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