Two persons who were acquitted and discharged after being charged for conspiracy in the Major Maxwell Mahama murder trial, Bismarck Donkor and Bismark Abanga have revealed how they have to start life all over again after losing their properties while being held in prison.
According to the two who spent seven years each at the Nsawam Prison, they lost their cocoa farms which were a source of livelihood for their respective families.
”While in prison, I was told of the situation back home so I had to sell my cocoa farm for GHC9,000 to raise some money to take care of my family. There was no help coming from anywhere, my wife had given birth and the baby was just three months old, and I had another child, I have just one sibling and my mother was also bed ridden and so I had to sell my cocoa farm to raise money. My wife used some of the proceeds to take care of herself and the kids and sent me some of the money to buy stuff for myself. But unfortunately, soon after, the money was finished and they had nothing to survive on. I was very confident that I will be freed and go home because I had done nothing wrong, I was absolutely innocent. As we speak now, I have lost everything and I will have to start life all over again,” Bismarck Donkor said in an exclusive interview on Ghana Kasa on Kasapa 102.5FM after they were finally released from Nsawam Prison.
On his part, Bismarck Abanga also recountered how he also lost his cocoa farm.
”I had secured a land on which I was doing my cocoa farming before the unfortunate incident occurred. Then five years later while I was in prison, I sent my wife to the owner of the land to tell him that very soon, the case in court will be concluded and since I know I am innocent, I will come home to continue with my farming. But the owner of the land objected to my plea and told my wife that he can’t allow the land to lay unattended to. Not long after, my wife called to in form me that the owner has taken over the farm land. As we speak, I have no property and life is tough for my family, I have four children and now that I’m out of prison, I have to take care of them. As I head home, I am going to start life afresh. The court found me innocent of the crime and the State has released me to go home today, but the State is not giving me anything when I have been in prison for seven years.”
The High Court in Accra a fortnight ago sentenced William Baah, the Assemblyman of Denkyira-Obuasi and 11 others into life imprisonment after they were found guilty for their respective roles in the lynching the late military officer Major Maxwell Mahama.
This was after the seven-member jury comprising of a lady and six gentlemen returned a unanimous guilty verdict against William Baah for abetment.
The Eleven others – Bernard Asamoah alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame a.k.a Abortion, Akwasi Boah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim, John Bosie, Akwasi Asante, Charles Kwaning, Emmanuel Baidoo, and Kwadwo Anima were also unanimously found guilty for conspiracy.
The Jury also returned a unanimous guilty verdict against Bernard Asamoah, alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame a.k.a Abortion, Charles Kwaning a.k.a Akwasi Boah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim, Akwasi Asante and Charles Kwaning for the charge of murder.
After sentencing them to life imprisonment, Justice Mariama Owusu, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, said, the punishment for both conspiracy and the murder are to run concurrently.
Two others – Bismarck Donkor (A8) and Bismark Abanga (A13) who were charged for conspiracy have been acquitted and discharged after the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict in their favour.
The facts, presented by the prosecution, were that Major Mahama was the commander of a military detachment stationed at Diaso in the Upper Denkyira West District in the Central Region to check illegal mining activities.
At 8 am on May 29, 2017, Major Mahama, wearing civilian clothes but with his sidearm, left his detachment base for a 20-kilometre jogging.
At 9:25 a.m., the military officer got to the outskirts of Denkyira Obuasi, where a number of women were selling foodstuffs by the roadside.
He stopped to interact with the women and even bought some snails, which he left in their custody to be taken up on his return from jogging.
While he was taking out money from his pocket to pay for the snails, the woman from whom he had bought the snails and a few others saw his sidearm tucked to his waist.
Soon after he left, one of the women telephoned the assembly member for Denkyira Obuasi to report what they had seen.
“Without verifying the information, the assembly member mobilised the accused persons and others, some now at large, to attack the military officer,” the prosecution stated.
It added that the mob met Major Mahama near the Denkyira Obuasi cemetery and, without giving him the opportunity to explain and identify himself, “attacked him with implements such as clubs, cement blocks and machetes, killed him and burnt a portion of his body”.