Judge Orders Military Boss To Appear In Court
An Accra Fast Track Court, presided over by Justice Senyo Dzamefe, yesterday, ordered the Commanding Officer of the First infantry Battalion (1BN) at Mitchel Camp near Tema, to appear before it to explain the whereabouts of Private Seth Gokah, one of the soldiers who has been accused of murdering Alhaji Issa Mohammed, popularly known as Issa Mobila.
The order follows the failure of the suspect to appear in court in person, after the military had been ordered, during the previous sitting, to produce him. The Commanding Officer is further expected to explain the circumstances under which Private Gokah escaped from the custody of his outfit.
The court made the order, when W.O. Charles, Amoako, from the 1st Infantry Battalion, confirmed to the court, on demand, that three people were handed over the Battalion, but noted that the Battalion, but noted that he does not know the whereabouts of Private Gokah.
Lieutenant Peter Andoh, who was among the military personnel who escorted the rest of the two accused persons to court, stressed that their duty was to escort, and could not therefore tell the whereabouts of Private Gokah, when the court questioned him.
The rest of the accused persons, Cpl. Appiah Yaw and Private Modzadka Eric, are currently in the custody of the military, however, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Ebo Barton Oduro, who led the prosecution team, requested the court to remand the two accused persons into prison custody, in order for them to be available for trial, and to guard against further escapes.
On his part, Thaddeus Sory, counsel for the two accused persons, objected to the request of the deputy Attorney General, noting that in criminal cases, it was not absolute that accused persons should be kept in prison custody.
Even though the court cited an order of the Tamale High Court, where the accused persons were standing trial before the transfer of the case to Accra, indicating that the accused persons should be remanded into prison custody, Justice Dzamefe did not make any definite order in that respect.
According to him, the present situation, where accused persons are in military custody still holds till December 2, 2009, when the court would determine whether or not trial will commence, as an attempt to empanel the jury for the trial was halted.
Both Mr. Sory, counsel for the accused persons, and Ms. Penelope Bambata, Chief State Attorney, had agreed that the empanelling of the jury should be put on hold, in order to hear the responds from the Commander of the 1BN on the disappearance of Private Seth Gokah.
the three accused persons are facing two counts of conspiracy and murder of Issa Mobila, who was also the then Chairman of the Tamale/Bolgatanga branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport (GPRTU), however their pleas had not been taken by the court.
The three accused persons were on duty at the Kamina Barracks at Tamale in the Northern Region, with 1st accused, Cpl. Appiah Yaw being the Commander of the Guards, under whose protection the deceased person, Issa Mobila, before his death, was placed.
Issa Mobila had surrendered himself to the police in Tamale, when he got information from his wife that the police were looking for him, after the latter had gone to the house of the former on December 9, 2004, to arrest him for suspecting that he had supplied the youth with guns and ammunitions the previous day, to cause mayhem during the heat of political campaigning in the region.
The deceased was then arrested and detained in respect of a gun firing incidence in the late hours of December 8, 2004 at Werizehi, a suburb of Tamale, after the police took a caution statement from Issa Mobila.
The police further impounded a BMW salon car, with registration GR 2772 Q, belonging to the deceased, and conducted a search, but founded nothing incriminating.
The court was told that subsequently, the police had information that the youth were going to besiege the police station for the possible release of Issa Mobila, as a result of which, during a meeting of the Regional Security Council, a decision was taken to transfer the then CPP Regional Chairman to the military at Kamina Barracks for safekeeping.
Prosecution told the court that the police handed over the deceased at about 3:00p.m. fit and sound to the military at Kamina Barracks, however, Issa Mobilla was taken to the Medical Reception Station (MRS) of the barracks at about 8:00p.m with signs of mass violence all over his body, and pronounced dead.