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Tabloid News of Friday, 3 May 2002

Source: gna

Witness invokes death if his evidence proves false

Imam Seidu, a 70 year-old defence witness in the murder trial of Professor Agyewodin Adu Gyamfi Ampem II at the Sunyani High Court Two on Thursday, invoked instant death on himself if an affirmative response he had given to prosecution should prove false.

This was after Mr B. Cab-Bayuo, Chief State Attorney, had in a cross-examination suggested that it was not true that Kwasi Sarpong, alleged leader of the Omanhene's opponents had asked him to advise his people not to protect the Omanhene.

"It is true, if not, I should die when I leave the court," the Imam retorted. Seidu, a farmer and Imam of the Zongo community in Achirensua preceded his responses to prosecution questions with the Islamic words "Insha Allahu".

When the prosecution suggested that his evidence that Sarpong told him that, he and the Achirensua youth would use any means to foil efforts by the Zongo boys in protecting the accused was false, the Imam retorted, "it is true", adding that, "I cannot lie".

Replying to another suggestion by prosecution that though he had sworn by the Koran to speak the truth and nothing but the truth, all that he had told the court apart from his name and age were lies, Imam Seidu said, "I don't lie, I was made Imam due to my truth".

The court, presided by Mr Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie, restrained the Imam when he attempted to pray in the dock to thank Allah for telling the truth, since those in the court belonged to different religious persuasions.

Led in evidence by leading defence counsel, Mr Otu Essel Kwadwo Fodjour, Imam Seidu told the court that three days before the shooting incident, Sarpong came in an angry mood to tell him to advise the Zongo boys to stop going to the Omanhene since they (Zongo people) were strangers and could not interfere in chieftaincy matters.

Imam Seidu said Sarpong told him: "I have told you to tell the Zongo youth not to step in Nana's house because we have installed our chief and we know how to destool him". Witness said Sarpong warned that he and his group would exchange fire for fire and machete for machete if there should be a clash between them and the Zongo youth.

He said he promptly summoned the Zongo community and informed them of Sarpong's warning. The Imam said Sarpong and his group blamed the Zongo youth for their inability to attack the Omanhene as he alleged that the youth were protecting the Omanhene.

Replying to a question by the foreman of the jury, Seidu said the Zongo community did not provide any organised security for the Omanhene, "but as strangers in the town, we used to go to him to hold discussions on issues bordering on the town's progress".

Mr Kwabena Antwi, second defence witness and an uncle of the deceased, Nii Atoquaye Quansah, in his evidence said the destoolment of the Omanhene was the issue at stake before the shooting incident. The youth had conspired to destool Nana, as they accused him of being the cause of their assault and molestation by the military in the run up to the 2000 general election, he added.

He said the youth alleged that one Collins Dauda who was also aspiring to be the parliamentarian area connived with the Omanhene to cause the sudden death of Professor Kofi Amoah, the NPP parliamentary candidate for Asutifi South constituency early in December 2000.

The witness who is an assemblyman and chairman of the local branch of the NPP said before the shooting incident on 17 April last year, the town was calm, but whenever the accused appeared in the town the youth engaged in violent acts and rained insults on the Omanhene.

He corroborated an earlier assertion that the youth removed the cover of culverts to prevent the accused from driving into his house and to trap him from fleeing in the event of an attack. "Once I caught a nephew of Sarpong in the act and warned him to desist from that to avoid arrest by the police," Antwi said.

Police Inspector John Narh Tetteh, Station Officer at Achirensua and the third defence witness told the court that he was aware the accused was subjected to insults and threats anytime he came to the town since March 2000.

He said the accused on four occasions reported harassment by the youth to the police but because of their strength asked him to apply for security protection from the District Headquarters but the accused never did.

In response to a question by prosecution, Inspector Tetteh said at about 6.30 p.m. on the day of the incident he could not visit the scene "because the youth were more than our relatively small number". "I therefore rushed to the District Commander at Kenyase, since visiting the scene was not easy because the youth were very wild and it would have been disastrous for us," he added.

Mariama Bukari, a housekeeper of the accused and fourth defence witness also appeared to answer questions and to respond to suggestions by the prosecution The defence closed its case and the court adjourned to Tuesday, 7 May for addresses and replies by both the prosecution and the defence.