Soldiers wanted revenge after Major Mahama’s death — Witness

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
FLASHBACK: Some of the accused persons leaving the court premises
FLASHBACK: Some of the accused persons leaving the court premises

The second-in-command to Major Maxwell Mahama who was lynched at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region on May 29, 2017 has told the Accra High Court that soldiers were angry about the military officer’s death and nearly engaged in revenge attacks.

According to Warrant Officer (WO) Sabi Kwasi, after the soldiers at the base headed by Major Mahama heard about his (Mahama) lynching, they were ready to revenge the death of their commander.

“I told them that the then Captain Mahama was dead. That infuriated them and they wanted to go to the village (Denkyira Obuasi) for revenge, but I convinced them not to do that,’’ he said.

WO Kwasi took the stand on Thursday as the first prosecution witness in the trial of 14 people accused of murdering the military officer.

The 14 people standing trial for Major Mahama’s death include William Baah, a former assembly member for Denkyira Obuasi.

All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to charges such as abetment of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and murder.


Morning walk

Led by the prosecutor, Mrs Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney, WO Kwasi told the court that on May 9, 2017, the military team commanded by Major Mahama was dispatched to Denkyira Diaso to provide security for a mining company known as Canada-Ghana Mining Limited (CnG).

He said around 8:30 a.m. on May 29, 2017, Major Mahama informed him that he was going for a walk and might be late because he would use the left route instead of his normal right route.

Per WO Kwasi’s account, he called Major Mahama’s phone when food was ready, but the phone had been switched off.

Not long after that, the manager of CnG, whose name he gave only as Donald, called him to inquire if all the soldiers were at the base, to which he replied that those on duty had left and that Major Mahama was also not back from his morning walk.

Donald called again and told him that he had heard that someone had been shot.

WO Kwasi then left the base in a pick-up truck with three other soldiers to the Dunkwa Hospital to do further checks about the said shooting incident.

Dead body found

The witness said when the soldiers got to the Dunkwa Hospital, a nurse showed them a man who had been shot in the leg, but he was not Major Mahama.

Another nurse told the soldiers that an armed robber had been brought to the hospital dead and that his body was at the morgue.

The soldiers then proceeded to the morgue and found that it was the body of their commander, Major Mahama.

“The naked body had many wounds and burns. I was shocked and could not stand the sight,’’ WO Kwasi added.

Hearsay

WO Kwasi’s testimony was, however, not without controversy, as two defence counsel objected to his addition of the said Donald from CnG Limited.

The two — Mr George Bernard Shaw and Mr Patrick Anim Addo — argued that Donald would not be called as a witness and, therefore, whatever WO Kwasi said in reference to him was hearsay.

But the arguments by the two was opposed by Mrs Keelson, who argued that WO Kwasi made reference based on what Donald had told him (Kwasi) directly and that did not amount to hearsay.

After many back and forth arguments by the defence and the prosecution, the presiding judge, Mrs Justice Mariama Owusu, overruled the objection.

“The witness (WO Kwasi) is testifying to direct conversation on phone. That is not hearsay; objection overruled,’’ she ruled.

Cross-examination

In his cross-examination of the witness, Mr Shaw asked WO Kwasi if Major Mahama always informed him about his morning routines.

The WO answered in the affirmative.

Hearing continues on May 24, 2018 for the continuation of the cross-examination.