The trial of 14 persons suspected to have brutally murdered Major Maxwell Adams Mahama at Denkyira Obuase (now New Obuase) in the Central Region, has begun at an Accra high court, with the prosecution calling its first out of 15 witnesses.
WO II Kwesi Sabi, who was among the Major Mahama-led military detachment that was sent to protect properties of C & G Mining Company at Diaso in the region, narrated his experience with the army officer before he was lynched.
Despite his 25 years’ practice as a military officer, WO II Sabi – who was Major Mahama’s second-in-command (2ic) – told the court how he was terrified and shocked when he saw the partly burnt body of his boss.
He said it was so horrific that he could not look at it twice and had to step away from the corpse.
WO II Sabi, led in his evidence-in-chief by Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney, told the court that on May 6, 2017 he, together with other military officers, were called to the Southern Command where they were told of their mission and later proceeded to their new station.
“On May 29, 2017 at about 8:30 am, I was on the veranda of the quarters where we were lodging when Captain Mahama told me he was going for a walk. He was wearing a tracksuit and had his earphone in his ears. He also had his pistol hooked around his waist,” the witness told the court.
He said the fallen soldier, who usually uses the road on the right side of the quarters, on that faithful day decided to use the one on the left. “He told me he may be a little late and that he will walk past the police barrier,” he recollected.
WO II Sabi indicated that at about 9:30 am, their caterers brought them food and when he called Major Mahama, his phone was switched off.
He said at about 2:00 pm on the same day, one Mr. Donald, who was in-charge of the C & G Mining Company, called him on the phone to ask whether all the military officers were at the quarters.
“I told him that those on duty had already left and the rest of us are home, except Major Mahama, who had gone for a walk, so he ended the call.
“He later called again to ask whether I had heard from Major Mahama and I told him his (the deceased) phone was switched off. He called for the third time and told me somebody had been shot. I was shocked by the information because I had been calling the deceased and his phone was not going through,” WO II Sabi narrated.
He said he went to Mr. Donald to request for a vehicle and was given a pick-up and that together with three other military officers and a civilian, they headed to a hospital where the person who was shot had been sent.
He said on reaching the hospital, he spoke to a nurse about a patient who was brought there as a result of gunshot and she showed him another person who had been shot in the left leg.
“Another nurse told me that another person had been murdered and the body was deposited at the mortuary. I went to the morgue and saw the body which happened to be that of Major Mahama. He was naked with parts of his body burnt. I was shocked and could not look further,” WO II Sabi recollected.
He said after seeing the corpse, he received a call and when he answered, it was Colonel Nyanteh, Second Battalion Commander at Takoradi, who had called to confirm if indeed one of them had been shot, and he told him it was true.
“He told us to go back to the quarters and that he was coming. When we got to the quarters I told the rest of the detachment about what had happened and they got angry and wanted to storm the town but I told them not to,” WO II Sabi concluded.
In his cross-examination defence lawyer George Bernard, who is representing William Baah, Bernard Asamoah, Akwesi Baah, Bismark Donkor, Akwesi Asante and Emmanuel Baidoo, asked the witness what their mission at Diaso was, and he (witness) said they were sent there to protect the properties of C & G Mining Company.
Asked whether the Major, prior to his death, always informed him of his morning routines, WO II Sabi replied in the affirmative.
Hearing continues on May 24, 2018.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak