“The wheels of justice may turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine.”
However, a direct or indirect relationship with crime victims seeking justice may just render this saying into books of eternal rhetoric unless justice is delivered.
Many cold-blooded murders in Ghana have remained inconclusive and are still under investigation by law enforcement agencies or under trial.
Bereaved families of some murdered people continue to reel in pain while on a long wait for justice.
Many of these murders, however, necessitated the establishment of the Cold Case Unit under the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana police in November 2021, aimed at dealing with cases, particularly homicide, which are still under investigation.
The Inspector-General of Police, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, has emphasized on multiple platforms that the establishment of the cold case unit would encourage additional enthusiasm on high-profile murder cases with the aim of reaching the closure they deserve.
The Ghana Report recalls a few brutal murders that shook the nation’s pulse:
- Fennec Okyere
On 13 March 2014, Fennec Okyere, Head of Mad Time Entertainment and a former manager of hiplife artiste Kwaw Kese, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his Manet Gardens residence.
Fennec was brutally killed by unknown assailants who broke into his house in Accra.
In May 2014, Lawrence Nana Asiama Hanson (Bulldog) was picked up by the Police Criminal Investigative Department (CID) over the death of Fennec. He spent some time on remand and was later released.
Eight years down the line, the police is yet to arrest suspects concerning the murder of Fennec.
This has triggered concerns recently by some top entertainment personalities who have wondered if the police have forgotten about the case.
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- Adams Mahama
The former Upper East Region Chairperson of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Adams Mahama, died in hospital in May 2015 after severe burns from an acid attack.
Gregory Afoko and one Asabke Alangde are currently before the High Court standing trial for allegedly pouring a substance believed to be acid, which subsequently led to his death.
In June 2022, the Office of the Attorney General concluded its case in the second trial of the two ‘men accused of killing Mr. Mahama’.
The prosecution, led by Marina Appiah Opare, a Chief State Attorney, during the trial, called 16 witnesses to prove the case in which Afoko was charged with one count of murder while the two were charged with a count of conspiracy to murder, to which they all pleaded not guilty.
The case has been on trial for seven years.
- JB Danquah
Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North, was stabbed to death on 9 February 2016 at his Shiashi residence.
Daniel Asiedu and Vincent Bossu were arrested in connection with the murder.
However, the accused persons denied the charges and were remanded into custody by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo.
Six years on, the prosecution has presented eight witnesses. And the prime suspect in the murder has been identified in the ongoing trial.
Per investigations, fingerprints and footprints, which were taken at the crime scene, matched that of the first accused, Daniel Asiedu.
Subsequently, the court admitted into evidence a pen drive containing video confessions of the prime suspect. In the video, Asiedu admitted to stabbing the late MP during a scuffle when he went to his Shiashie residence to rob.
However, counsel for the accused objected to the tendering of the video as evidence. He argued that the accused was under duress and at all material times was in handcuff, tortured and deprived of sleep and also did not have a lawyer present when the videos were shot.
The counsel for the republic opposed the defence counsel’s argument.
A principal state attorney said the accused was relaxed throughout the interrogation, and the cuts on his hands were a result of struggling with the late MP, while the one on the face was a result of putting his head through a metal fence with thorns around it.
After listening to the parties, the presiding judge, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, upheld the objection.
The substantive case has been put on hold while a mini-trial has commenced to ascertain the issues raised by both parties.
- Major Maxwell Mahama
Major Maxwell Mahama was lynched at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region on 29 May 2017 while on duty.
It was later narrated that the military officer had been mistaken for a robber.
Following the incident, over 50 suspects were rounded up, out of which 14 were eventually screened for prosecution.
The trial, however, took a one-year-long pause with the emergence of Covid-19 in 2019 and the 2020 Presidential Election Petition hearing.
On Monday, 16 May 2022, the prosecution closed its case in the trial of the 14 accused persons.
This prompted the lawyers of the accused persons to make a submission of no case.
The prosecution had not convincingly shown that the 14 people currently before court indeed killed the army officer.
The case is still ongoing.
- Joseph Jakperuk
On 4 January 2019, a Manager of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Joseph Jakperuk, was shot and killed by some unknown persons at Gbangu in the Northern Region.
The deceased and his three colleagues were travelling in two vehicles, but none of the others was harmed.
Reports indicated that the unknown shooters mounted a roadblock and ordered one of the vehicles which was driven by the Deputy Distributions Manager of GWCL in Accra East Region, to stop.
The gunmen subsequently opened fire and killed him on the spot.
Three persons were later picked up in connection with the murder.
Two accused, Kantam and Bukari, were granted police enquiry bail.
But Zakaria Naandam, believed to be behind the murder, was remanded into prison custody by a court in Tamale.
To date, no one has been prosecuted or jailed for the murder of the GWCL staff.
- Josephine Asante
The Marketing and Public Affairs Manager of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in charge of the Tema Port, Josephine Asante, was stabbed to death at her residence in Tema Community 25 in 2019.
She was murdered, locked up in her bedroom and keys thrown in the compound where she lived.
Other house occupants said her body was discovered the following day after they found the keys to the deceased’s bedroom .
Though the deceased’s laptop, phones, jewellery and other important personal effect were exposed, the assailant did not take anything.
Two persons — Amos Apeku, her official driver, and Christian Adjei, her houseboy were hauled before a court, who were later granted bail.
Three years down the lane, no one has been prosecuted or jailed for the gruesome murder.
- Ahmed Hussein-Suale
In January 2019, Ahmed Suale was shot in the chest, and neck and died instantly.
The gruesome murder of the private investigator occurred at Madina in Accra. News of his murder threw the country into a state of debate, panic and uncertainty.
The police mounted a manhunt for the unknown assailants, who were said to have been riding an unregistered motorbike.
Concerns about media freedom and the safety of journalists were raised, accusers arose, and the accused were questioned accordingly by law.
But perpetrators are yet to be brought to book.
The late Ahmed Hussein-Suale played a key role in Anas’ ‘Number 12’ documentary, which exposed widespread corruption in the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
- Otumfuo’s Asamponahene killed
Otumfuo’s “Asamponahene”, Nana Kwadwo Fodour, was murdered by some armed assailants whilst travelling on the Ejura – Nkoranza road in the Ashanti Region in August 2019.
The body of the 46-year-old chief was found with multiple stab wounds lying in a pool of blood in his vehicle.
The issue sparked some chieftaincy controversies and other related issues.
The prime suspect was arrested upon investigations but is yet to face full judgement.
- Nana Ahor Agyei
The Chief of “Gomoa Akraman” in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region, Nana Ahor Agyei, who doubled as a land guard, was battered and shot to death on 9 September 2019,
The act was not only condemned by many but sparked several chieftaincy and land controversies.
Bullet shells, a pestle soiled with blood and a blood-soaked shirt belonging to the deceased chief were found at the crime scene.
Residents believed that the chief was murdered in connection with some ongoing land disputes.
Not much has been heard about the case again.
- Mark Ofori
30 October 2019 will also go down in the books of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a dark day.
News broke that the Western Regional Constituency Treasurer for the party, Mark Ofori, had been shot in his house at Fijai, a suburb of Sekondi in the Western Region, by some unknown assailants.
It was widely speculated as a contract murder as the assailants, according to reports, took nothing from the house but went straight to Mr. Ofori’s room and killed him.
To date, nobody has been charged for the murder despite promises by the police and the NPP.
The most significant development in the case was the arrest of a false informant who was charged and sentenced to six months imprisonment in November 2019.
The informant, Nana Bassaw, caused the arrest of one Anthony Mensah after picking up a fight with him days before.
- Professor Emmanuel Yaw Benneh
Senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Law Faculty, Professor Emmanuel Yaw Benneh, was found dead in his Adjiringanor residence in Accra under mysterious circumstances on the morning of Saturday, 20 September 2020.
An eyewitness mentioned that Prof Benneh’s legs and arms were tied when his body was found between his living room and bedroom in a pool of blood.
After intense investigations, four suspects were initially arrested and charged with murder.
However, they were discharged by the court after no incriminating evidence was found against them.
The prime suspect, a cleaner in the house, later gave an account in court about his involvement in killing the law professor.
However, in October 2020, the lead suspect died at the Police Hospital in Accra following a short ailment.
The development has since thrown the investigations in limbo.
- Ekow Quansah Hayford.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Mfantseman Constituency, Ekow Quansah Hayford, was shot by gunmen who stopped his vehicle while he was returning from a campaign trip on Thursday, 8 October 2020.
Mr. Hayford is believed to have responded to queries from the attackers, who sought to know if he was indeed the MP for the constituency.
The incident occurred at dawn while he was on the Abeadze-Dominase–Abeadze-Duadzi-Mankessim road in the Central Region.
A week after, the police announced that they had arrested five suspects in connection with the killing of the lawmaker.
So far, eight persons have been apprehended in connection with the crime.
In a recent development, the prosecutor handling the case revealed that police have begun examining forensic evidence that was gathered at the crime scene.