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General News of Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Source: My News GH

Executive arm of gov’t interfering with judiciary to keep Afoko caged — Ayieta Family

The family of Gregory Afoko who is standing trial on accusation of murder of a former Upper East Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP has fingered the Executive branch of government of having a hand in the continuous incarceration of their son, for a crime he didn’t commit.

Mr Afoko after facing a four-year trial which judgement was due in few days, has had to face a fresh trial after another suspect in the murder was apprehended.

In a press conference addressed by the Spokesman of The Ayieta family, Robert Atong Asekabta, the family is asking why government filed “nolle prosequi” after calling 14 witnesses in the course of the four year trial of Gregory Afoko which was due to end this month.

They also questioned why government is asking the judiciary to select a “dedicated” judge for a new trial, questioning whether the old judge who presided over the four year trial was not “dedicated” enough.

They further alleged that their son, Gregory Afoko is being maltreated and security services have denied him access to his lawyers.

“The state security did not, and has still not, allowed him access to his lawyers and/or any member of his family. We do not know how our son is fed or what is put into whatever he is eating. We think that he is being emotional, psychologically and physically tortured.”

See full statement:

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY THE AYIETA FAMILY OF SANDEMA AT A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTRE, ACCRA, ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 19, 2019

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the media. Thank you very much for honouring our invitation at short notice. The Ayieta Family of Sandema, to which Gregory Afoko belongs, is very much appreciative of your presence this morning.

Let me remind all of us gathered here, and Ghanaians in general, that our son, Gregory Afoko, since his arrest at the dawn of 21st May 2015 has been in detention under very trying conditions but has co-operated fully with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that justice is done in the matter in which he has been falsely accused of, and charged with the murder of the late Adams Mahama, a former Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He has since been standing trial at the High Court, Accra.

Our son has, since his arrest and subsequent prosecution, consistently been denied bail even when he was clearly sick and would require urgent medical attention. He has been in detention with a swollen arm for some time now and we hope and pray that what is afflicting him is not so serious to irreversibly affect his health.

As you have been reading from the media, especially social media, on the reports emanating from the court on his trial, he was taken through the Committal Proceedings at the District Court, Accra which did commit him for trial at the High Court even though he has maintained his innocence since his arrest.

He went through the deliberate delays, frustrations of adjournments and the refusal to be granted bail in the hope that the matter would proceed to its logical conclusion for judgment to be pronounced so that he would know his fate.

The prosecution called as many as fourteen (14) witnesses, most of them from Bolgatanga, to testify against our son and closed its case. Gregory also opened his defence and closed his case and was awaiting the verdict of the court.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, members of the family were therefore shocked to read and hear from the media that, with some few days to judgment, the Attorney-General who was prosecuting our son had filed a ‘nolle prosequai’, which the lawyers explained to us to mean that the Attorney-General had decided to discontinue with the trial even at that very late stage! Gregory was not going to know his fate after a full, tortuous and lengthy four-year detention and trial.

The Attorney-General’s reason, we were told by the Minister for Information, was that they had arrested another suspect in the case and so the Attorney-General wanted to try the two together.

The following questions ran through our minds as we discussed amongst ourselves and also sought explanations and clarifications from lawyers on the issue:

1. Was it not possible legally, to try the new suspect alone as was done to Gregory?

2. Where was the fair trial in this after Gregory had been taken through all the pains of four years of detention, and to be put through a retrial?

3. Had something gone wrong with his trial?

4. Did the Attorney-General anticipate an acquittal and discharge of Gregory and was not happy with it?

5. Is it mandatory for the two accused persons to be tried together?

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