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Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Source: GNA

AG asks police to charge two with murder of missionary

Accra, June 1, GNA - The Attorney General (AG) has recommended that a driver and reverend minister should be held for the murder of Sidney Thomas Barnes, a British/American Missionary at Nsawam last year. It said Kofi Seidu, the driver, and the Reverend Goodwill Padmore should be charged with conspiracy to commit crime. Additionally Seidu should be held for murder. However, Issaka Mohammed, a farm labourer, who was arrested with the two, should be discharged because there was not enough evidence to link him with the death of the missionary. The AG noted that there was enough evidence to sustain the charges of conspiracy and murder against Seidu and Padmore. The AG asked the Police to take their statements to enable it prepare a bill of indictment and summary of evidence. This was announced by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Clement Abadamlora, the prosecutor, at an Accra District Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Initially three persons, Seidu, Padmore and Mohammed were arrested in connection with the murder of Reverend Barnes and put before a District Magistrate's Court in Accra. The court did not take their pleas and adjourned the matter to June 15. The facts as presented earlier by ASP Abadamlora said the deceased, 75, arrived in the country in 1995. The prosecutor said Seidu was also a farm manager of the deceased. Padmore was the Principal of Prestige Secretarial and Business Academy in Koforidua while Mohammed is a resident of Adoagyiri in Nsawam. ASP Abadamlora said the deceased established a Christian ministry, known as Cross Road Christian Missionary Incorporated in Koforidua. The prosecutor said beside the missionary work, the deceased also had a farm at Akwamu, near Nsawam, which was managed by Seidu while his private secretarial institution was handled by Padmore. On December 27, 2009, ASP Abadamlora said, the deceased went to the USA and he was to return to Ghana on March 18, 2010. On March 17, Padmore gave Seidu some money to repair the vehicle of the deceased so that they could use it to bring him from the Airport to Koforidua the following day. ASP Abadamlora said on March 18, Seidu after collecting GH¢50 for fuel left early in the morning saying he wanted to 93do some rounds" before picking up the deceased in the evening. At about 2330 hours, ASP Abadamlora said, Seidu called Padmore on phone saying that the deceased had not arrived so he had driven the vehicle to Nsawam Adoagyiri. The prosecutor said on March 19, a witness in the case detected that Seidu had sustained some injuries on both hands and when he was quizzed, he told the witness that he and a white friend were involved in an accident in Koforidua. He indicated that the said white friend was receiving treatment at the Saint Joseph's Hospital in Koforidua. The prosecutor said Seidu also went to a chemical shop for a tetanus injection and was asked to purchase the drugs but he did not return. ASP Abadamlora said Seidu presented a laptop to a witness in the case and when it was switched on, the name of the deceased appeared on the screen. The prosecutor said the bag of the deceased was found in the vehicle being driven by the accused. ASP Abadamlora said following a report lodged with INTERPOL on the disappearance of the deceased, Seidu was arrested and handed over to the Homicide Unit for further investigations. During investigations, Seidu confessed to the crime and mentioned Padmore and Mohammed as his accomplices. On October 11, 2010 Seidu led a team of investigators from the Homicide unit and pathologists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to Akwamu Amanfo, near Nsawam Adoagyiri, where he identified the grave where the deceased was buried. ASP Abadamlora said the body of the deceased was exhumed and conveyed to the Korle Bu teaching Hospital Mortuary and on October 13, autopsy was carried out on the body. The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital gave cause of the death of the missionary as multiple stab injuries and lacerations and haemorrhage.