How a policeman’s drunkenness led to biggest tip-off in who killed the judges
DSP Edmund Oheneasah (retd.) was working in the information room at the Police headquarters in Accra that night in and around August 1982.
It was at a time in the country when every long conversation in Ghana would not have been complete without a discussion on who killed the judges.
And it most probably would end with another charge on the police to ‘get to the bottom of the matter’.
But Ghana police runs heavily on tip-offs even to this day. So while Ghanaians looked to the police, the officers looked to Ghanaians.
One such Ghanaians was the Minister for Highways at the time who drove to the police headquarters where DSP Edmund Oheneasah was in charge of the detectives.
“He brought this drunken policeman”, the only surviving member of a special investigative team into the killing told Joy News Special Assignment.
The minister whose name was unknown explained he picked up the officer drunk while inspecting road repairs.
He remembered that the IGP at the time was among the top officials who had a chat with the minister.
The DSP not at the level of these top officials, nonetheless joined the conversation. And as all conversations went in the period of the revolution, they touched on the matter of the judges who were abducted from their homes at Ridge in Accra and killed on June 30, 1982.
DSP sighed and then explained, the minister intimated he had gone to Tema Port and found some four Fiat Campagnola vehicles. According to the DSP, the minister relished the prospects of having one for his official duties.
The minister further revealed that “somewhere along the line”, he was told some soldiers had come to take two. “When I heard all that information, I was having the next step of action in mind”, the DSP’s professional training kicked in.
Edmund Oheneasah said he went straight to the IGP for permission to move to the Tema Port. Over there, basic administrative process required that any vehicle leaving had to be logged.
“You have got to sign and print your name,” he said.
He said it took three months for the Port officials to pull out the details of who came for the vehicles, a long bureaucratic search through papers.
Right there in the log book dated June 17, 1982, was the name of a soldier, Amedeka.
WHO KILLED THE JUDGES
“It isn’t by magic, you see, so when we got the name of Amedeka because he signed for the vehicles we decided to pursue that line.”
Through his girlfriend, they learnt Amedeka was working as a “liaison officer” at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. “They could go to Rawlings’ house, you see they had all the freedom to do what they liked so we decided to question him”.
Amedeka was a loyalist of the military junta, PNDC, headed by Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings.
“The first time we met him at the regional Special branch headquarters…those places we have got the gadgets to record everything.
“I said okay if you will not talk, mind you the others have talked to us,” he tricked Amedeka who told the police investigators to come the next day.
“…the following day he started talking like a parrot”, the former police investigator said. It was Lance Corporal Amedeka who revealed the identities of the other accomplices – Tony Tekpor, Dzandu and Hekli.
WHO KILLED THE JUDGES
He told them how an authority note given to them by PNDC member, Joachim Amartey Kwei, provided them free movement during the curfew to pick up the three judges and the retired army officer.
“These were young lads. They were adventurous but I wouldn’t say they were murderers. They knew that what they were doing is authorised by the state…so they couldn’t understand why we were coming after them.”
The police officers worked for the Special Investigations Board headed by Justice Azu Crabbe that looked into the murders and recommended prosecution of nine people.
In fact, the Board said Capt. Kojo Tsikata was the master- mind behind the murders.
But the Attorney-General under the PNDC, George E. K. Aikins refused to prosecute five of the nine suspects [marked in red] explaining. They were L/Cpl Gordon Kwowu, L/Cpl Mama Nsurowua, L/Cpl Victor Gomeleshio, Sgt. Daniel Alolga Akata Pore and Capt. Kojo Tsikata.
He claimed, there was not enough evidence to support the charge of murder or conspiracy to murder.
Less than a year after DSP Edmund Oheneasah heard that timely conversation with the Highways minister, four PNDC men L/Cpl Amedeka, Tony Tekpor, Dzandu and Hekli, as well as ex-PNDC Members Amartey Kwei were put in Nsawam Medium Prisons and the Ussher Fort Prisons.
But in a jailbreak, L/Cpl Amedeka escaped. His three accomplices were not that lucky. They were executed by firing squad. But not before some major confessions that still raise questions about who killed the judges.
DSP Edmund Oheneasah is retired and lives abroad with his family.