22 May 2019

Ghana: Discontinuation of Gregory Afoko Case - Court to Give Judgement On Challenge, June 9

The Supreme Court (SC) has adjourned to June 19, 2019, to deliver judgement in the case, in which Gregory Afoko is challenging the Attorney-General (A-G) for discontinuing his trial at the High Court.

The applicant is one of the persons accused of murdering the late Alhaji Adams Mahama, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in 2015.

Both counsel for Afoko, Sarfo Buabeng, and the A-G, represented by Marina Appiah Opare, a chief state attorney, told the seven member panel of judges, yesterday, that they have filed "memorandum of agreed issues".

On January 28, 2019, the A-G filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the trial of Afoko, following the arrest of the other suspect, Asabke Alangdi in neighbouring Burkina Faso, by a joint International Police (INTERPOL) and Ghanaian police.

Afoko and Alangdi subsequently appeared before the Accra Central District Court charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder.

In his writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the SC, Afoko asked for a declaration that the nolle prosequi filed by the A-G on January 28, 2019, is a violation of articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution, and therefore, "unconstitutional, null and void".

Afoko is also praying the apex court for an order to terminate the case at the district court.

Alhaji Mahama died at the Bolgatanga Government Hospital after a substance suspected to be acid was allegedly poured on him in front of his house in Bolgatanga, on May 20, 2015.

Afoko's trial started in 2016 and was nearing completion after the prosecution and the defence had closed their cases.

On January 26, 2019, Afoko closed his case after he and his brother, John Ishmael Afoko, had testified.

The prosecution, led by a chief state attorney, Mr Matthew Amponsah, had called 14 individuals as prosecution witnesses.

Subsequently, the presiding judge, Mr Justice Lawrence Mensah, directed the two parties to file their written addresses.

On February 19, 2019, at the Accra Central District Court, the lawyer for Afoko, Ms Benedicta Ansah, urged the court to stay proceedings pending the final determination of the writ filed at the Supreme Court.

But, Ms Lily Atutigah, a state attorney, contended that Afoko's lawyer wrote to the Registrar of the court about the case at the SC, instead of filing a formal application for a stay of proceedings.

The presiding magistrate, Ms Efua Sackey, agreed with the State Attorney and directed Afoko's lawyers to file a formal application and also serve the A-G.

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