A 36-year-old man yesterday confessed he had the intent to kill President John Dramani Mahama following which he was slapped with a 10-year jail term by the Accra Circuit Court.
According to him, he had, prior to the demise of Prof. John Evans Mills, wanted to be President, but was unlucky when President Mahama was rather sworn in as Head of State.
Antwi, who spoke Twi, was arrested on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at the Ringway Gospel Centre branch of the Assemblies of God Church where the President and his family worship regularly.
According to Antwi, he had gone to the church to kill the President but, unfortunately, the President was not in church that day.
In his confession, the convict said he was fed up with the “dumsor” situation and the harsh economic conditions in the country.
Antwi, who wore a white shirt and sported a beard, mostly avoided eye contact with the trial judge during the hearing.
Libya tripThe convict spoke of how he had visited countries such as France, Morocco and Libya and also specified that he had returned from Libya before attempting the assassination of the President.
He said he felt cheated by President Mahama following the death of Prof. Mills because he believed he (Antwi) should have been the President.
He told the court that the day he was picked up was the fourth time he had gone to the church to launch his attack.
Antwi said the President had not gone to church on those three other occasions and explained that the day he had no gun was the single occasion that the President showed up in church.
Asked how he got to know where President Mahama worshipped, the convict said a soldier on duty at the former seat of government, the Castle, had told him.
He conceded he did not have legal permit to possess the gun but was emphatic in stating that he had gone to the church to kill the President.
I do not smokeWhen asked by the trial judge whether he smoked, Antwi said in twi, “I don’t smoke but I drink”, and emphasised his confession.
The speed with which the convict confessed to his crime prompted the judge to inquire from the investigator if he (Antwi) was mentally stable.
But the trial judge had a change of mind immediately the convict confessed to visiting the President’s church four times in his bid to kill him.
Antwi conceded that it was true the gun and two rounds of ammunition were found on him and also admitted he should have registered the gun, but stated there was no need for him to register it because he intended to use it to commit murder.
At that point, the court entered a ‘guilty’ plea for the convict, who had earlier pleaded not guilty with explanation.
Antwi showed no sign of remorse upon his conviction but rather asked how he was going to kill the President following his conviction.
By courtThe presiding judge held that people such as Antwi must be kept away from citizens for a long time and expressed regret at the fact that the maximum sentence for such crimes was 10 years under the law.
The court held that “if the accused person had succeeded in killing the President, there would have been chaos, anarchy and confusion in the country. The accused person deserves no mercy”.
According to the court, the convict’s confession was a clear indication that he had a premeditated plan to kill the President.
Mr Justice Francis Obiri, who is a High Court judge with additional responsibility as a Circuit Court judge, said it was the duty of all Ghanaians to protect the President.
He charged the security agencies to beef up security around the President and all the places he frequented.
He also ordered that the gun, which was sent to court as an exhibit, must be destroyed in the presence of the police and the registrar of the court.
Prior to his conviction, the convict had informed the court that he was not married and was not responsible for the upkeep of his parents, although both of them were alive.
He claimed ownership of the gun and said he had bought it from a Burkinabe friend at Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr A. A. Annor had prayed the court for a remand warrant for investigations to continue, but the convict’s confession brought proceedings to an end at a single sitting.