Friday, February 5, 2010 (Page 3 Lead)
THE prosecution in the case involving five soldiers alleged to have killed the former Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Mr Rokko Frimpong, has been given two weeks by the Osu District Magistrate Court to furnish it with particulars of the case.
The court specifically gave the prosecution the “last chance” to furnish it with the bill of indictment and summary of evidence.
It gave the order after defence counsel had vehemently opposed a plea from the prosecution for an adjournment to enable it to receive results on forensic examination conducted on the bullet used to kill Mr Frimpong.
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 the prosecution claimed 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.
The court, after giving the deadline to the prosecution, once again remanded the soldiers to reappear on February 22, 2010.
At the court’s sitting yesterday, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr Patrick A. Morkeh, prayed the court to adjourn the case because results from forensic examination on the bullet that was used to kill Mr Frimpong were not ready.
Counsel for the soldiers, Mr Joe Aboagye Debrah, did not take kindly to that and stated that it was untenable for the prosecution to come up with such a story more than two years after Mr Frimpong’s death.
He argued that it was public knowledge that a docket on the same matter and involving different persons was currently in court for prosecution and pointed out that the prosecution was committing perjury by showing disrespect to the court by deliberately delaying the prosecution of the case.
He said Article 14 (4) of the 1992 Constitution gave the court the power to release the accused persons unconditionally or with reasonable condition but the action of the prosecution was making it impossible for justice to prevail.
Mr Debrah added that the precedent being set by the prosecution was dangerous for the country’s criminal justice system.
On January 22, 2010, ASP Morkeh told the court that the bullet used in killing Mr Frimpong had been forwarded to the Police Forensic Laboratory for examination and for that reason the prosecution needed an adjournment.
His plea prompted the presiding judge, Mr Emmanuel Bart Brew Plange, to direct the prosecution to furnish the court with the bill of indictment, the summary of evidence and the results of the forensic laboratory examination on February 4, 2010.
The facts of the case, as presented by the prosecution, are that the soldiers, who were picked up in November 2009, 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 their innocence 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.