March 21, 2023
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Sam Okudzeto, a one-time president of the Ghana Bar Association, GBA, has recounted how killers of the three High Court judges in 1982 failed to completely cover their tracks after the dastardly act.

Okudzeto, who said he was out of the country when the incident occurred, said it took an act of nature to ensure the murdered remains were not burned beyond recognition.

In an interview on Joy News earlier this week, he recounted how the three judges and a military officer were picked from their residences by people he believed to be agents of the then Provisional National Defense Council, PNDC, government.

The three High Court judges were Justice Fred Poku Sarkodie, Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addo and Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong, they were picked in the evening of June 29 along with Major Acquah, a retired army officer.

In the morning, “alarm was raised because families had reported that they were picked from homes in the night. Rawlings announced on radio that abducted and searching for them, night announced that they had been killed.

“The odd fact of all this is that, they were taken to the Accra Plains, where they had the shooting range and they were shot and they tried to hide their crimes by pouring petrol on them and setting them on fire, so that fire will just destroy them, and they will search for them, they would never have found them.

“But by the miracle of the almighty God, there was a drizzle only in that spot were they were killed, so the fire was quenched. That is how they found the decomposed bodies,” he stressed.

According to him, that single act, “had raised so much fear in the country that some judges run away from the country, some of them never even returned.”

He took the opportunity to call on especially political actors to desist from denigrating the courts and judiciary as a whole. He said, whiles the institution was not beyond reproach, there were laid down rules that needed to be followed in seeking redress over perceived infraction.

One of the most recent critiques of the judiciary has come from former president John Dramani Mahama who insists the current Chief Justice cannot salvage the dwindling public trust in the judiciary.

The 1982 murder of High Court judges and retired soldier

On Thursday, June 30, 1982, on the eve of the 22nd anniversary of Ghana’s Republic, the three judges; Mr Justice Fred Poku Sarkodie, Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addo and Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong, all judges of the High Court and Major Acquah, a retired army officer, were brutally and savagely murdered on the night of their abduction at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.

The Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), appointed a Special Investigation Board with a former Chief Justice, Mr Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe, as chairman to investigate the murders.

The outcome of the investigation led to the prosecution and execution of Joachim Amartey Kwei, a member of the PNDC, Lance Corporals Samuel Amedeka and Michael Senya, and two ex-soldiers- Jonny Dzandu and Tony Tekpor.

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