Mr Gameli stepped out of the dock and was accompanied by an officer to a seat. Then Akoto, one of his friends who was at the pub that evening, stepped in. The Court Clerk inquired whether he was a Christian or a Muslim. He told the court that he was a Christian. Then he was given a Bible to swear on. He repeated these words after the Clerk: “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God.” The Bible was taken away from him. Then the Prosecutor began his direct examination of the witness.
“Can you kindly tell the court your full name?”
—My name is Mr Nana Yaw Akoto.
“What is your profession?”
—I am a real estate agent.
“Great. What is the relationship between you and Mr Gameli?”
“How long have you known him?”
—I have known him since college times. We’ve been friends for more than ten years.
“I see. Then you must know your friend so well. If you had to describe Mr Gameli with three words, what would you say about him?”
—Hardworking, Punctual and Kind.
“That is no coincidence, although the latest is arguable. I am going to take you back to the night of the murder. Tell the court where you were that night.”
—It was a Friday night so I was at a pub with a friend; later, Gameli joined us.
“How late was Mr Gameli?”
—More than thirty minutes behind time actually.
“Was that a normal habit of his?”
—No, Gameli has never been late for any event. He was always the first to arrive when we met on those days.
“Did he tell you why he was late that day? and did you notice anything strange about him that evening?
—Well, he didn’t really say why he was late, he only said he was caught up in traffic; which was hard to believe on my side. One weird thing I noticed about him was the fact that he was drenched in sweat…”
Mr Akoto was interrogated for close to two hours. He told the court his version of the story which had subtle innuendos that portrayed his friend was guilty. Afterwards, the Prosecutor called on his second witness. She was in the person of Darkowaa Koranteng, a neighbour to the Akatugbas. She had no background in formal education so she presented her statements in the Takoradi-fante dialect. A translator passed her message across to the court. For most of the statements she made, the crowd couldn’t desist from roaring with laughter. Partly because of her articulation, the way she stessed her words, and partly because of how she gesticulated as she spoke. She didn’t mind that she was carrying a baby at her back, she didn’t mind that the crowd kept giggling. She was simply there to tell her side of what had happened and she was doing just that. Before telling her account of the story, the translator asked her to tell the court some background information about herself.
She told the court that she was a petty trader. She sold sachets of water in traffic along the high streets of Accra. Sometimes, she washed for the Akatugbas and collected some pennies. She was a single mother of three, with the oldest at age 7. She had enrolled the two older ones in the Government school close to their area. Because the youngest was still young, she carried him at her back while she hawked during hot afternoons in other to fend for her children. Was the money she earned enough to pay rent, bills and take care of all of them? She told the court that they lived in a kiosk and therefore, she didn’t have to pay for rent except for the meagre she paid to the land owner. She also didn’t have to pay for electricity bills too, they used lantern and candles at home. Hence, what she earned was just manageable for them. Where her husband was? He has left us, he said I have given him an albino child…” Her voice quavered as she narrated that aspect of her life. That was the only instance during her speech that attracted sympathy rather than laughter from the crowd. Now, she continued with her version of the incidence.
“Like I was saying, that evening, the mosquitoes kept chewing us. So I went to Maame Akos’ shop to buy a packet of coil. When I got there, there was no one so she served me immediately. But you know women, we had to chitchat and gossip about a few stuff first. Afterwards, I left. While returning, I heard a loud sound; my stomach burnt me small. The noise sounded like a small thunderstorm, but it didn’t happen in the sky. So I knew it wasn’t the sound of thunder. I stopped in my track and looked around to check if any car had burst a tyre. There was none. After a moment, a black Toyota Corona drove out of Mr Akatugba’s house. It wasn’t Mr Akatugba’s car, so I was quite alarmed. Yet, I didn’t expect anything bad to have happened so I just went to my home, to lit the coil for my family.”
“Did you see the driver?” The Prosecutor asked the translator to ask Darkowaa.
“No, she says the glasses were rolled up.”
“How many times did you hear the gunshots?” The translator transliterated directly in her local dialect.
“Ebien” Darkowaa replied.
“She says two.” The translator confirmed.
The Prosecutor asked her a few more questions and the examination came to an end. It was time for the Attorney to cross examine the witness. He got up from his seat gently, and walked towards the witness in the dock. Then he smiled at her, a suspicious smile; but she smiled back gleefully.
This is the end of part III. How do you feel about the two witnesses, Darkowaa and Akoto? How would you describe Akoto, Gameli’s friend? Anyway, don’t go too far. Part IV of facet One would be available on Sunday. 🤩🤩🤩
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