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General News of Wednesday, 23 July 2003

Source: gna

Journalist to go before NRC

The National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) would invite Mr. Joe Bradford Nyinah, a journalist with Daily Communications Group Limited, to it to unravel the mystery surrounding the bizarre death of Emmanuel Mensah Kwame Aidam, Managing Director of the National Investment Bank (NIB), in 1988. Mrs. Beatrice Aku Aidam, wife of the late banker, told the NRC on Wednesday that she suspected foul play.

She added that she did not believe a report she received from Mr. Christian Komla Dewornu, then Inspector General of Police, that Mr. Aidam committed suicide.

In her evidence before the Commission on Wednesday, Mrs. Aidam said the Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Voice newspapers reported on the death of Mr. Aidam, adding that Police seized Mr. Nyinah's note pad and ordered him to stop reporting on the case.

According to Mrs. Aidam, her husband left home in the evening of September 3, 1988, to have a meeting with Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, then Secretary of Finance and Economic Planning over a government directive to recoup all outstanding loans.

However, his dead body was found the next day in his uncompleted building at East Cantonments. She said she was could not go to the scene, but had reports that the head of his husband was found in a gutter, with blood oozing from it.

There were also visible injuries on his body, his genitals were swollen and the grass nearby was ruffled, she said, and added that there were signs that Mr Aidam had struggled with somebody before his death. She said she learned from Dr Botchwey that the supposed meeting never came off, though he had scheduled an appointment with Mr. Aidam.

Mrs. Aidam said an announcement was made that the death would be investigated, but to date there has not been any report. The family was also not allowed to see the post-mortem report.

When her brother-in-law went to see a the pathologist at the 37 Military Hospital for the autopsy report, someone excused her brother-in-law, after which the pathologist came and told him that he had been instructed not hand over the report to anybody.

Mrs. Aidam said after her husband's death, one Alhaji Yussif Braimah, who, she said, had taken some loans and had had disagreement with her husband came to their house to ask her if her husband was really found hanging.

Also, Awuni, the watchman at the house where her husband was found dead, did not come to work on the day of the incident. She said Awuni said later that somebody gave him money and asked him not to come to work on the night that the death took place.

Awuni was arrested and then released. He later left their employment. Mrs Aidam said she had five children with her husband, and life after the death of her husband "was very difficult, but we managed."

She said she petitioned the then Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council and "tried to talk to some people in high places" over the death of her husband, but they were all to no avail.

Mrs Aidam prayed the Commission to conduct proper investigations into the death of her husband and clear his name of the alleged suicide.

Commission Chairman Justice Kweku Etrew Amua-Sekyi said the Commission intended to take further evidence on the testimony at a later date.

Madam Janet Bazawule from Madina Estate, another witness, said after the June 19,1983 abortive coup, the driver of her family's commercial vehicle was arrested and the vehicle seized on a false charge of it being used to transport arms. She said she was then teaching at the Field Engineer Regiment and went to one Colonel Klutse, who was then at the First Infantry Brigade, who told her that her case was a very serious one.

Madam Bazawule said she was sent in a military vehicle to the Osu Police Station and detained without any charge for two weeks.

Mrs. Bazawule said she was later shown a book in which she saw that she had been charged with subversion. She said during her detention, she was subjected to mental torture.

The police would try and extract confession from her by conversing with her about how subversionists had been put in helicopters and thrown into the sea. Bazawule said she was also told that her husband, who was working with the Foreign Service and was on an assignment in Cairo, had married another woman, adding that it made her have a nervous breakdown. She said she was sent to the Police Headquarters to face a panel of investigators over her alleged role in harbouring and assisting dissidents.

Mrs. Bazawule said a lady framed her up, as having seen her harbouring and assisting dissidents. She said the Police released her when she threatened to use whatever spiritual means to prove her innocence, but asked her to forget about her seized car and be thankful for her life. Mrs. Bazawule said on her return home, she found her two children in the care of her husband's relatives.

The younger one, then nine months old, was weak and malnourished. Mrs. Bazawule said she spent a total of six weeks in detention and had since been receiving treatment for the nervous breakdown she was suffered. She said she has to date forgotten the name of the driver, who was also kept in custody, and has also not seen him again after the arrest.

Mrs. Bazawule said after the incident, her husband, who was the First Secretary in Charge of Egypt and Lebanon in the Ghana Embassy in Cairo, also lost his job.