Major Mahama’s team was protecting illegal miners – Defence counsel claims

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

One of the lawyers defending the 14 people accused of killing Major Maxwell Adams Mahama has alleged that Major Mahama headed a military team that was protecting illegal mining operations.

According to the lawyer, Mr George Bernard Shaw, the military operation headed by Major Mahama was protecting the Canada and Ghana Mining Company (C&G) at a time when the Minerals Commission had directed the company to cease operations.

Mr Shaw made the assertions on Thursday during the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, WO Sabi Kwesi, at the Accra High Court.

Major Mahama was killed at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region on May 29, 2017.

He is said to have been lynched during a morning walk that led him to Denkyira Obuasi.

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Fourteen people, including William Baah, a former Assembly Member of Denkyira Obuasi, are standing trial in connection with the death of the military officer.

They have all pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from murder, abetment to murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

“Illegal operations”

WO Kwesi, who was the second-in-command to Major Mahama, had earlier told the court that a team of 31 soldiers, headed by Major Mahama, had been sent to Diaso in the Central Region to protect the properties of C&G.

According to him, the military team was dispatched to Diaso on May 9, 2017.

But Mr Shaw, during the cross-examination, sought to prove that as of January 30, 2017, the Minerals Commission had banned C&G from mining in the Juaso Forest located at Diaso.

The following is an extract of the exchanges between Lawyer Shaw and WO Kwesi.

Lawyer Shaw: Did you know that the NPP government banned illegal mining in January 2017.

WO Kwesi:      I know, but I don’t remember the date.

Lawyer Shaw: The company you were protecting, C&G, was affected by the ban.

WO Kwesi:      No, it was not affected.

Lawyer Shaw: I am telling you that on January 30, 2017, the Minerals Commission wrote to the company to cease mining in the Juaso Forest.

Some family members of the late Major Mahama leaving the court premises

Some family members of the late Major Mahama leaving the court premises

Jogging attire 

The cross-examination shifted to other areas when another defence counsel, Mr Augustine Gyamfi, took over.

WO Kwesi had earlier informed the court that Major Mahama had left the military base for the walk in a tracksuit, with a pistol stuck to his waist side.

Mr Gyamfi then asked WO Kwesi if anybody could identify Major Mahama as a soldier in the tracksuit, to which WO Kwesi answered in the affirmative.

“How will one know?’’ counsel asked.

“You will know a soldier by the way he walks or his haircut,’’ WO Kwesi answered.

The cross-examination of WO Kwesi will continue on June 5, 2018.

Release call records

Meanwhile, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Mariama Owusu, has ordered Vodafone Ghana Limited to produce records of telephone calls made by Baah on May 29 and 30, 2017.

The order was directed specifically at the Head of the Disclosure Department of Vodafone.

According to the court, the call records would enable Baah, who has been charged with abetment to murder, to put up an effective defence.

The order followed an application made by Baah’s lawyer, Mr Shaw.