Saturday, January 23, 2010 (Page 3 Lead)
THE bullet which ended the life of the former Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Mr Rokko Frimpong, has been recovered.
The prosecutor in the case involving five soldiers who were alleged to have murdered Mr Frimpong yesterday told the Osu District Magistrate Court that the bullet had been forwarded to the Police Forensic Laboratory for examination.
Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr Patrick A. Morkeh, however, did not give details about how, when and where the bullet was recovered.
The soldiers — Sergeants Michael Arthur, Richard Somuah and Lamptey Haizel and Corporals Charles Ankumah and Emmanuel Antwi — have been accused of murdering Mr Frimpong, who was deeply involved in the re-denomination exercise three years ago.
They have, accordingly, been charged with two counts of conspiracy and murder but their pleas have not been taken.
Responding to the prosecutor’s submission, counsel for the soldiers, Mr Joe Aboagye Debrah, did not take kindly to what he termed “the prosecution stories”.
He said the prosecution had put the defence team in a “legal limbo” because it had not taken the pleas of the soldiers to enable the defence to apply for bail.
Counsel stated, for instance, that the prosecution filed neither the bill of indictment nor the summary of evidence and stressed that “the prosecution only comes to court with stories”.
Mr Debrah argued that it was public knowledge that a docket on the same matter and involving different persons was currently in the Attorney-General’s office.
He described the accused persons as “fine soldiers” who had served their country well, pointing out that it was, therefore, unfortunate that they had been treated in such an unfair manner.
He said parties in the matter had a responsibility to ensure that the accused persons had an expeditious and fair trial.
Counsel, therefore, prayed the court to compel the prosecution to define the case properly, as well as ensure a speedy trial.
The court, presided over by Mr Emmanuel Bart Brew Plange, directed the prosecution to furnish the court with the bill of indictment, the summary of evidence and the results of the forensic laboratory examination.
He, accordingly, remanded the accused persons to reappear on February 4, 2010.
Family members of the soldiers wept uncontrollably when the soldiers were escorted out of the courtroom by security personnel.
The facts of the case, as presented by the prosecution, are that the soldiers were instructed by a superior officer to kill Mr Frimpong, who was said to have uncovered some fraudulent deals in the re-denomination exercise which incriminated some former top government officials.
According to the prosecution, the five were recruited by their superior officer (name not provided in court) at the 64 Infantry Battalion to eliminate Mr Frimpong, who was said to have uncovered the rot involving some former top-ranking government officials.
Reacting to the prosecution’s assertions, counsel for the soldiers maintained that his clients were innocent, adding that he would prove the innocence of the accused in due course.
The soldiers were picked up barely 72 hours after the Human Rights Court, presided over by Ms Charity Irene Danquah, had, on December 15, 2009, ordered their immediate release from the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
The court ordered the release of the five after defence lawyers had argued that their clients’ continued detention was a flagrant abuse of their human rights, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, especially when the BNI failed to give a tangible reason for their continued detention.