Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prosecution Fails To Bring Witnesses In Ya Na Trial

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday October 20, 2010
An Accra Fast Track High Court trying 15 men who have been accused of murdering Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, overlord of Dagbon, yesterday heard how the police organized an identification parade to enable them arrest some of the accused persons.

However, the Attorney General’s Department failed to bring those witnesses who took part in the exercise to testify in the trial.

Detective Inspector Augustus Nkrumah, the current investigator had tendered photographs of Kojo Ngula, Wumbei and Abdulai among others, who took part in the identification parade, claiming some of the accused persons were involved in the murder of the Ya Na, yet the prosecution did not invite them to testify.

Detective Nkrumah told the court, presided over by Justice EK Ayebi of the Court of Appeal that Ngula is indisposed but could not explain why the others were not in court as prosecution witnesses.

Cross-examined by Phillip Addison, counsel for the accused persons, Detective Nkrumah (PW11) said since February 2010 when he was assigned to the case he had been to Yendi three times to conduct investigations in the matter saying “on the first visit, I went to arrest suspects in the case.”

Counsel: When was the first time you visited Yendi

Witness: When we effected the arrest of the accused persons. I was there on April 9, 2010

Counsel: Who did you arrest?

Witness: About nine people.

Counsel: When was the second time you went to Yendi

Witness: Around the time the docket had been sent to the AG’s Department…It was
around June. That was the time Mohammed Cheampon and others were arrested.

Counsel: What specifically did you do?

Witness: After the arrest I took the opportunity as the investigator to see the place.

Counsel: When was your third visit?

Witness: Just this Saturday. I went there to familiarize myself with the place… My second visit gave me a concrete idea about the situation.

Detective Nkrumah said when he went to Yendi he was followed to the Gbewaa Palace by policemen in Yendi saying he was assisted with 10 armed policemen.

Counsel: You said you do not know Yendi so I am surprised they followed you and not you following them to the palace

Witness: I have made it known that I have been there before.

Detective Nkrumah said when he took over the case some of the accused persons had already been arrested by the police and said he was among the arresting officers but the case had not been given to him at that time.

He said he had not read the Wuaku Commission Report (the body set up by President Kufuor to investigate the murder of the Ya Na after the intra-ethnic conflict between the Abudu and Andani Gates in Yendi in March 2002), adding, “I have not personally read the special investigation report compiled by the police during the crisis but was briefed by ACP Ayarlingo on the case.”

Counsel: You said you relied on documents in your investigation. What document was that?

Witness: Docket on the case

Counsel: So the basis for arresting the accused persons was the information you got from the docket

Witness: The first people were arrested before I took over the case. The subsequent arrests were made based on evidence.

Detective Nkrumah admitted that some of the names of the suspects were not in the docket but said they were those arrested and released, adding that some of them were freed by the Human Rights Court.

Counsel: Your investigations solely consisted of statements of the witnesses

Witness: Yes

Counsel: Can you tell the court why Yidana Sugri (the man acquitted and discharged by an Accra Fast Track High Court over the murder of the Ya Na) was arrested

Witness: He was not arrested based on my investigation

Counsel: Was he discharged when you took over the investigation

Witness: Yes

Counsel: Have you heard about the Republic Versus Yidana Sugri

Witness: It came to my attention when the case came to court. It was Hon. Atta Akyea who told me about it.

Counsel: You mean during your investigation you did not come across this case

Witness: I did not do extensive investigations before bringing the suspects to court because a suspect needed to be in court within 48 hours of arrest
He disagreed with counsel that the first suspect was arrested in March, saying it was in May.

Counsel: Did your investigation reveal how the Ya Na died

Witness: My investigations revealed that the Ya Na died as a result of decapitation… It was in the medical record

Counsel: Did you meet the pathologists

Witness: No

He said he got the medical report through a Chief Superintendent who was part of the initial investigations but did not ask him where he (Chief Superintendent) got the report from.

Detective Nkrumah said it was Imrana Saibu (PW3) who said he saw the one who decapitated the Ya Na.

He noted that he was not aware that the witnesses had already testified that they were at a particular spot and could not see the one who decapitated the Ya Na.

He said he did not speak to Detective Charles Adaba (the initial investigator) about the case because he (Mr. Adaba) was in Sudan.

He said PW3 had told him that the accused person used a dormer machine to decapitate the Ya Na but did not find out from the pathologist because the medical report had said so.

PW11 also said that some of the witnesses had said it was Nyaa (A15) who took photographs at the crime scene but the accused person denied it adding “I did not find out the number of houses that were burnt”

Counsel: All you did was to go to Yendi, speak to Andanis and take everything hook, line and sinker

Witness: I do not know the difference between Andanis and Abudus

Counsel: Does it surprise you that all the witnesses are Andanis and the accused persons are Abudus

Witness: That was what came out of the investigations

He said he did not see the armoury in the palace adding “grass had grown and the whole place was untidy. The best person who can say this is Inspector Adaba.”

Counsel told the court that “the investigator cannot bring people to court and say that he cannot answer questions about them.”

Detective Nkrumah said he knows Mohammed Achana Abdul Salaam aka Red who had testified as PW9 but said he did not know that Red was once trained in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said it did not come to his attention that Red surrendered a G3 weapon to the police and said he does not know if the Wuaku Commission was not able to identify the killers of the Ya Na.

When the jurors asked the Detective Nkrumah if he extended his investigations to the Borlana’s palace, he said “No” and when he was further asked why he did not go there he replied “my investigations was on the Gbewaa Palace and the death of the Ya Na.”

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