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General News of Tuesday, 21 October 2003

Source: GNA

Ex-L/Cpl Kwawu denies involvement in murder of judges

Accra, Oct. 21, GNA - Ex-Lance Corporal Elvis Gordon Kwawu, formerly of the Supply and Transport Section of the Ghana Armed Forces at Burma Camp, said on Tuesday that L/Cpl. Sammy Amedeka, suspected to be a key accomplice in the abduction and murder of the three High Court Judges and a retired Army Major in 1983, told him that "a top official" of the then ruling Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) ordered the operation.

Ex L/Cpl Kwawu said he was later convinced that Mr Joachim Amartey Kwei, former member of the PNDC was the one who ordered the operation. "To my conscience, Amartey Kwei authorised the killings," he said in a 20-minute straight-to-the-point evidence at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) public hearing.

The ex-soldier denied any involvement in the abduction and the gruesome killing.

He said Lance Corporal Amedeka confessed to him that he and Michael Senya took part in the operation.

Lawyer Allotei Mingle, head of the Commission's legal section, led the witness in evidence.

Ex-L/Cpl Kwawu, who was reacting to an earlier testimony by Mrs Jemima Acquah, wife of the murdered Army Officer, admitted he was listed for trial by the Special Investigation Board (SIB), but denied leaving a smock on the vehicle used for the operation.

He also denied giving out his gun for the abduction and the murder of the judges and the army officer. Neither was he present or had any idea about any meeting among Sgt Alolga Akata Pore, Mr Amartey Kwei, both PNDC Members, and the then Chairman, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings over the operation.

Witness said he was transferred from his Unit to guard the Broadcasting House after December 31, 1981 and that L/Cpl Amedeka, with whom he became acquainted at the House, used to come there.

He said he was not happy when Amedeka told him that he was on the murder squad.

However, he could not lodge a report to the law enforcement agencies because there was tension in the country at the time, he said, adding that, he was afraid to make any report, especially when Amedeka had told him that the operation was ordered by a top member of the then ruling government.

Witness said he was later arrested with L/Cpl Amedeka, Senya, and Tekpor in connection with the killing of the judges and the Army Officer.

He said he was interrogated and detained for a cumulative two years at the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Legon Police Station, Akuse Prison, Usher Fort Prison and Winneba Prisons.

He said there were warrants covering his arrests.

Ex-Lance Corporal Kwawu, who said he served in the Army for 20 years, explained that for ten years, there had not been any promotions in the Army.

Another Witness, Mr. Joseph Turkson, nephew of the late Nana Okutwer Bekoe, former Chairman of the defunct People's National Party (PNP), prayed the Commission to help him retrieve two boats, which he said, his uncle's fishing company had ordered but were not supplied, following an order by the Office of the then PNDC.

He said Attok Company, owned by Okutwer Bekoe, was expecting the delivery of the boats in April 1982 after paying about 390,000 cedis, being more than 50 percent of the cost, to the Marine Engineering for Imports and Exports (MEFIE), the suppliers.

Mr. Turkson appealed to the Commission to recommend compensation for the company for the revenue it lost as a result of the cancellation of the order of the boats.

He said MEFIE informed Attok company a month earlier of a letter from the Office the then PNDC, Gondar Barracks, signed by Flying Officer Ben Odoi, Co-ordinator of Investigations and Vetting, to suspend the construction of the boats and pay the amount into Account No.48, at the Ghana Commercial Bank.

Witness said Attock's Executive Director, Mr. George Quartey and Attock's Committee for Defence of the Revolution (CDR) filed a number of petitions to the Flying Officer, for the release of the boats, but to no avail.

Mr Turkson said as a result of the cancellation of the order, the Company was compelled to lay off its workers. Presently it has only 12 employees.

He said the cancellation was politically motivated and that petitions filed by Nana Okutwer Bekoe himself, after his release from detention, to the then acting Attorney General and Minister of Justice yielded no results.

For the first time, there was heavy police presence outside the main hall of the Old Parliament House, venue for the hearing, on Tuesday. NRC officials said it could be a normal security measure and did not elaborate.

The Chairman of the NRC, Justice Kweku Etrew Amua-Sekyi later said the Commission had subpoenaed L/Cpl Gomel Eshirow, to give evidence on Tuesday. However, he was not present when called to take the witness's seat.

The Chairman said L/Cpl Eshirow would be given another date to appear.