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General News of Wednesday, 8 January 2003

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Dead Mason's family appeals for independent inquiry

Koforidua (Eastern Region) -- The family of the late Stephen Agbedenu, a mason who disappeared and his bones found three months later under a mango tree at Koforidua has appealed to the Inspector General of Police to set up an independent enquiry to establish the real cause of his death.

The family were astonished that despite the fact that there was evidence that the late Agbedenu reported an earlier threat and assault on him to the police, the police did nothing about it. The family also expressed concern that even though the wife of the late Agbedenu, Faustina Aboni, reported to the Regional Police station at Galloway-Koforidua that before Agbedenu got missing he was assaulted by one of the suspects in the case, Holland-based Kwame Adofo.

Adofo and his grandmother, Grace Addo, a suspect, allegedly beat up the children of Agbedenu but the police did not take any action and allowed Adofo to travel to Holland, Freeman Gardrie, a spokesman of the family, told a press conference on Monday.

He said when the remains of Agbedenu ware located, it was only the skull, the pelvic and the two thigh bones which were found and questioned where the rest of the body of the deceased were.

Giving the background to the death of Agbedenu, Mr Gardrie said sometime last year Adofo contracted the late mason to construct a house for him and gave him money to buy sand and stones for the project.

He said in October, Grace, who was supervising the project, bought some cement blocks from one Kwame Agyepong, manager of Kool House Enterprise, a company that deals in cement and blocks.

Gardrie said Adofo rejected the blocks because of their poor quality and demanded the refund of the amount. He said Agyepong later got to know that his blocks were returned because the late Agbedenu was said to have complained of their poor quality.

When Agbedenu came to his shop with Adofo and the grandmother, Agyepong warned him to mind his business and accused him of making two million cedis gain from purchasing the sand and stones for Adofo's project.

Gardrie said Adofo and the grandmother demanded that Agbedenu should refund the said two million cedis. But Agbedenu denied making any gains and brought in some executive members of the Eastern Regional Sand and Stone Contractors Association from whom he bought the items to testify to that effect but Adofo and the grandmother rejected the explanation.

Gardrie alleged that sometime later Adofo met Agbedenu again at Agyepong's store, assaulted him and removed 800,000 cedis from his pocket. He said Adofo dragged the deceased on the ground, dumped him in a waiting taxi and drove away. Agbedenu, he said, reported the incident to the police.

Gardrie said the following day when Agbedenu and the wife had gone out, Adofo and his grandmother went to their house to look for Agbedenu and when they did not find him they beat up the children.

He said when the wife of Agbedenu returned home and the children told her of their ordeal she went to the house of Grace to find out why she and the grandson did that to the children.

Gardrie said it was there that Grace allegedly threatened that Agbedenu and Agyepong had connived to cheat her and the grandson of 2m cedis and if Agbedenu did not refund the money she would not care to spend 5m cedis to put him at a place Agbedenu would not like to be.

He said the late Agbedenu went out that day and never returned home. The spokesman said the police arrested Adofo and the grandmother and when Adofo's car was searched a blood stained knife was found in the vehicle for which the investigating officer and another policeman were heard debating whether the blood on the knife was that of a human being or not.

Gardrie said after the initial police investigations, Adofo and the grandmother were granted police enquiry bail for Adofo to be reporting daily to the police. But within a week Adofo was allowed by the police to travel back to his base in Holland but when a member of the family went to the police station to find out the situation, he was informed that Adofo sought permission to travel to Accra.