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Opinions of Monday, 2 January 2017

Columnist: Mamfe Concerned Youth Association

Margaret Akurang-Parry: Missing royal and unconcerned chief of Mamfe

By Mamfe Concerned Youth Association (MACOYA)

On July 9, 2014, Madam Margaret Akurang-Parry, known to family as M’Bea, called by peers as Maggie and others as Aunt Maggie, disappeared from her home in Adenta. At the time of her disappearance, her maternal cousin was living with her, in fact, had done so for barely five weeks.

The said maternal male cousin, then 23 years old, is now the only suspect in the in case. And the case is now being handled by an Accra Circuit Court. For this reason, we shall, for now, refer to the suspect as the SUSPECT.

Among others explained below, the SUSPECT is the last person to see Madam Akurang-Parry in her own home in the morning of July 9, 2014. Now we know that the SUSPECT has a criminal past and was even wanted by the police in Atebubu-Suhum area. This was not known by the Akurang-Parry siblings.

Besides, his alibi that at the time of her disappearance, he had attended classes at a driving school proved false. Also he used her phone to make numerous calls on the day of her disappearance and the day after. This would never happen if he didn’t have foreknowledge of her disappearance! For good three days, he didn’t tell any family member that Madam Akurang-Parry had disappeared. Additionally, he stole and drove car.

Again, he had her bunch of keys, including keys to her bedroom, car, garage, storeroom, and main gate, in his possession at the time of her disappearance. Furthermore, within six days of Madam AkurangParry’s disappearance, he stole and transported her personal belongings, including washing machine, TV, and fridge, from Adenta to Mamfe Akuapem.

There is more to come, but allow us to pause and pose a few questions here. We the youth, and of course, the concerned people of Mamfe Akuapem, have a simple question to ask the leaders of the Awurade Kese clan of Mamfe, especially the lineage of Ansah Sasraku. The question is why have they abandoned their royal? In sum, why have they not been involved in the search for Madam Akurang-Parry and why have they failed to seek justice for her via the courts of law?

Infact, why is the chief of Mamfe, a known NDC man with strong connections, so quiet about the disappearance of her first cousin and a member of the royal family? Would he be so unconcerned had it been one of his own siblings? We shall later publish our views on this subject!

Madam Akurang-Parry is a royal of Mamfe Akuapem. Her brother is Professor Kwabena Akurang-Parry, the prominent Ghanaian historian, public intellectual, and poet. Madam Akurang-Parry belongs to the Awurade Kese lineage and the Ansah Sasraku Stool. Her paternal aunt was the late Nana Amma Ansaa Sasraku, who was the Queenmother of Mamfe and Kyidomhemaa of Akuapem. Also Madam Akurang-Parry is the paternal first cousin of the current Mamfehene called Nana Ansah Sasraku III. Her great-grand father was Nana Ansah Sasraku I.

We like to stress these about Madam Akurang-Parry. She may have been a “no nonsense person,” but humbly gave family members loans; she offered townsfolks loans, for example, to bury their relatives; she found jobs for some of Mamfe youths; and offered good advice on life to some Mamfe men who visited George Akurang-Parry (Settle), her brother who was then living at her home in Ridge-Accra.

So far as we know. it is only Professor Akurang-Parry who is seriously seeking justice for Madam Akurang-Parry. He has vacated his teaching position in the USA and returned to Ghana in the past two- and-half years to do just that. It is fair to say that Professor Akurang-Parry is being assisted by two family members. The two family members were the only ones who initially followed the case handled by the Adenta Police. It is believed that due to the lack of higher education of the two family members, the Adenta police had their way with and toyed with them.

Madam Akurang-Parry, in her mid-50s at the time of her disappearance, among others, attended Aggrey Memorial International School, Kanda-Accra; Achimota School, and the Government Secretarial School in Accra. She worked as a secretary to several Ministers of state in various Ministries, including Works and Housing, Agriculture, Transport, and Information. Her last major assignment was at the Osu Castle, where she worked with Madam Oboshie Sai Cofie, a key member of President Kufour’s government.

It is believed that after the Kufour regime came to an end in 2000, Madam Akurang-Parry decided to quit the civil service to enter into private business. She was well to do, intelligent, hardworking, and in very good health. What everyone remembers about Madam Akurang-Parry is that she is kind, but above all bold and outspoken and does not suffer fools so to speak.

In fact, those of us who know the family very well can say that she is/was like all the Akurang-Parry siblings.

As noted, at the time of Madam Akurang-Parry’s disappearance, the SUSPECT, her maternal first male cousin, then about 23 years old, was living with her. In fact, he lived with her for only about five weeks from June 2, 2014 to July 9, 2014, when she disappeared. It was the AkurangParry siblings who brought the SUSPECT to live with Madam Akurang-Parry so that he could attend a nearby driving school to become a taxi driver.

In fact, the taxi-cab was ready and packed in the home of Madam Akurang-Parry. The SUSPECT had free board and lodging in addition to a weekly “chop money” of 50 cedis. Water was not a problem because the home has a boreholewell and he didn’t have to pay for electricity.

What prompted the Akurang-Parry siblings to find someone to live with Madam Akurang-Parry was that someone stole a set of chairs in her house. This terrified her. As a result, after consultations with Professor Akurang-Parry, both agreed that it was dangerous for her to live alone and it was about time to find a relative to live with her in the house.

In short, several family members were considered, but in the end the Akurang-Parry siblings went for the SUSPECT, who was an unemployed JHS graduate then living in Mamfe. As noted, the Akurang-Parry siblings brought the SUSPECT to Adenta on June 2, 2014, and enrolled him into a nearby driving school called Amen Driving School. In fact, Professor Akurang-Parry himself, then visiting Ghana, took him to the driving school; sought admission for him; and paid for the school fees of 400 cedis, excluding other incidental costs.

In short, the SUSPECT was strangely set free by the Adenta Police who did a very poor investigation of the case. We understand that Prof. Akurang-Parry petitioned the IGP about the unprofessionalism of the Adenta Police and the case is being studied by the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS). As noted, Professor Akurang-Parry, who has shown true love for her sister returned to Ghana to seek justice for her sister. Once he arrived in Ghana, he appealed to the CID Headquarters about the case. This led to the arrest of the SUSPECT.

Thereafter, the Attorney General ruled that the case should go to court on the basis of stealing since the whereabouts of Madam Akurang-Parry is still unknown.

Apart from the above, the facts of the case are as follows:

1. As noted, the Akurang-Parry brought the SUSPECT to live in the home of Madam AkurangParry on June 2, 2014.After this, Professor Akurang-Parry departed for the USA on June 15, 2014.

2. Almost five weeks later Madam Akurang-Parry disappeared on July 9, 2014. Prior to this, Madam Akurang-Parry had lived in the home alone for more than seven years without any incident, except the theft of her plastic chairs in her courtyard in late May 2014, by an unknown person.

3. On July 11, 2014, Professor Akurang-Parry, who had made numerous phone calls from the USA to Madam Akurang-Parry since the evening of July 9, 2014, sent a friend to find out what was happening in the home of Madam Akurang-Parry. It was then that Professor Akurang-Parry got to know that Madam Akurang-Parry had not been at home since July 9, 2014. We note that Professor Akurang-Parry had made the calls to both Madam Akurang-Parry and the SUSPECT, but none picked up his calls.

4. It was later established that Madam Akurang-Parry had made three phone calls in the morning of July 9, 2014, to artisans whom she had arranged to do some work in her home. It has been established that the artisans had nothing to with her disappearance.

5. Strangely from about 4.00 pm forward on July 9, 2014, which is the day of Madam AkurangParry’s disappearance, the SUSPECT used her cellphone to make eight calls and another eight calls on July 10, 2014. The cell-phone has not been found. This means that while Professor Akurang-Parry was phoning Madam Akurang-Parry, the SUSPECT had Madam AkurangParry’s cellphone in his possession, but refused to answer calls on it. Rather the SUSPECT used Madam Akurang-Parry’s cellphone to make his own phone calls.

6. Those of us who know the strong character of Madam Akurang can only strongly conclude that the SUSPECT knew then that Madam Akurang-Parry was not “coming back” and that was why he had the stupid courage to use her cellphone.

7. The SUSPECT’s alibi proved to be a big fat lie. He claimed he attended the driving school on the day and time of Madam Akurang-Parry’s disappearance. Thus Professor Akurang-Parry asked family members to quickly check on that information. It came out that the SUSPECT did not attend the driving school on that day. But later when the Adenta Police went to the driving school, they found out that the SUSPECT had sneaked into the general office of the driving school to change his attendance record from absent to present. And who does that, except someone who has something to hide.

8. Within six days of Madam Akurang-Parry’s disappearance, the SUSPECT stole and used her car. This was something that he couldn’t have done and dared not do if he knew that Madam Akurang-Parry would return home. According to the SUSPECT, he drove the car to 37 Military Hospital and for what reason, the Adenta police didn’t get any explanation from him.

9. Within six days of Madam Akurang-Parry’s disappearance, the SUSPECT stole her personal items, including a new washing machine, TV, Fridge, stove, etc. from her Adenta home and secretly transported them to Mamfe. 10. The information on the above theft only came to light when the Mamfe Police were alerted by now deceased Nana Amma Ansaah Sasraku II, the Queenmother and the aunt of Madam Akurang-Parry, to cause the arrest of the SUSPECT who was on the run and hiding in the Mamfe area.

11. Strangely, the Adenta Police did not visit the scene of the crime at Mamfe Akuapem, that is, where the stolen items had been found. Rather unethically and unprofessionally, the SUSPECT was asked by the Adenta Police to bring the stolen items from Mamfe to the Adenta Police station which he did. He was assisted by his senior brother who is a taxi driver. The said senior brother has not been interviewed to date.

12. Strangely, the Adenta police went to the crime scene at Mamfe only after the SUSPECT had brought back the stolen items from Mamfe to Adenta, and again only after they were prompted by Professor Akurang-Parry who called them incompetent and corrupt.

13. We don’t know how the SUSPECT was able to move the bulky items from Adenta to Mamfe, whether he was assisted by someone, how he was able to pass by the toll booth and police post, both at Ayimensa, and how he was able to carry the items to his grand-father’s home in Mamfe. These are important questions that the police did not ask!

14. Interestingly, six months after the Adenta police had visited the room in the house in Mamfe, where the SUSPECT had kept the stolen items, the CID Headquarters personnel searched the same room in the house and retrieved a cooking stove that belongs to Madam Akurang-Parry under a bed. This means that had the Adenta Police gone to the house to search, instead of asking the suspect to bring the items, they may have uncovered additional items that belonged to Madam Akurang-Parry, stolen by the suspect.

15. When the CID Headquarters personnel visited the home of the SUSPECT’s brother in Adenta, they found a computer bag, without the computer, that belonged to the Akurang-Parry family.

16. As noted, in spite of all the above, the Adenta police set free the SUSPECT. Yes unbelievably, the SUSPECT who had been formally told to leave the home of Madam AkurangParry went to the said home to steal building materials from the said home of Madam AkurangParry.

The case was reported to the Adenta Police.

17. The above raises several questions.

A. First, the evidence is clear and big and one. Thus one wonders why the Adenta Police set the

SUSPECT free.

B. Second, there is no doubt that the suspect was complicity and had clear motives in the disappearance of Madam Akurang-Parry. Again one wonders why the Attorney General’s Office did not proceed on a more serious charge than stealing.

C. Third, and our main concern for now is why the extended family of Madam Akurang-Parry do not seem to care about her disappearance. For us, the most troubling aspect of the case is that Madam Akurang-Parry is a royal of Mamfe Akuapem and one would expect that the Awurade Kese clan would seriously search for their princess. But this has not happened. We shall return to this later.

We are humbly asking the general public to contact the CID Headquarters if they know anything about the case.

MAMFE CONCERNED YOUTH ASSOCIATION (MACOYA) Yaw Adu (Convener & Interim General Secretary)