Mobila murder trial: Accused alibi is untrue – prosecution

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The defence of alibi put up by one of the three soldiers being tried for the murder of Alhaji Issa Mobila, the late Northern Regional chairman of the Convention People’s Party,

is false, the Accra Fast Track High Court was told on Thursday.

Thaddeus Sory, defence counsel, filed the notice of alibi on April 1, on behalf of Private Eric Modzaka, who is being tried together with Corporal Yaw Appiah and Private Seth Goka who is currently on the run.

But the prosecution told the court yesterday that after over a month’s investigations into Modzaka’s alibi that he was not present when the alleged offence was committed, information available revealed otherwise.

Giving a report on the investigations, Sergeant George Mensah Kpligi, told the court that Modzaka provided the details of two soldiers (Staff Sgt. Tayawn Thompson and WO Paul Ebu) his witnesses that he was not present at the time of the crime, but Sgt Thompson told interrogators that he could not tell where Modzaka was at the time and could not remember seeing Modzaka on December 9, 2004, the day of the incident.

Sgt. Kpligi, said Sgt. Thompson told him that he did not know, Modzaka’s movement on December 9, 2004, because he (Sgt. Thompson) was on duty at the operations room at the Kamina Barracks for the whole day, while the accused persons were also on duty at the Quarter Guard.

Sgt Thompson explained that the distance from the Quarter Guard to the guardroom is about 20 metres, and that he (Sgt. Thompson) had no authority to have moved from his duty post.

Sgt. Kpligi said as part of his investigations, he relied on Modzaka’s earlier statement in which he stated that he was present when the late Mobila was brought to the Kamina Barracks by the police on December 9, 2004.

Touching on WO Ebu, Sgt. Kpligi told the court that efforts to trace him for interrogation on the alibi proved futile as the Military Command informed him that Ebu had retired from the service.

According to him, he found out that WO Ebu, after retirement relocated from his station in the Northern Region to Accra but he could not trace him to Accra.

Nonetheless, he said he relied on WO Ebu’s earlier statement to the police in which he (Ebu) stated that when Mobila was brought to the barracks, he gave instructions to the officers on duty at the guardroom to receive him.

Sgt. Kpligi, who is the investigator of the alleged murder case and also the fifth prosecution witness, tendered in evidence, two statements he took from Sgt. Thompson on the alibi.

Under cross-examination by counsel for the accused persons, Sgt. Kpligi could not explain why he did not look for WO Ebu using the address given to the prosecution in the alibi.

Although Modzaka, in the alibi, gave WO Ebu address as “Burma Camp Workshop, Accra”, the prosecution ignored that and went looking for him at the Kamina Barracks in the Northern Region.

The case has been adjourned to May 20, for continuation and the prosecution is expected to, on that date, call three more witnesses before it closes its case for the accused persons to open their defence.

Seven prosecution witnesses have so far testified in the case.

The case, being heard by a seven-member jury, started on March 17, 2010.

The court on March 17, 2010 ruled that the jury, be confined until the determination of the case but did not state when it should take effect. The confinement of the jury would mean that they would have no access to phone calls, the media, the general public or their families except under supervision.

The three accused persons were first put before the Tamale High Court presided over by Justice G. S. Suurbaareh in July 2005 but the Attorney-General ordered that the case be transferred to Accra.

Alhaji Mobila was allegedly tortured to death at the Kamina Barracks on December 9, 2004 after he had been transferred from the Tamale Police to military custody.

According to the prosecution, the three were on duty at the Kamina Barracks when Alhaji Mobila was taken to the military custody.

The prosecution told the court that on December 9, 2004, shortly after Alhaji Mobila was taken into custody at the Military Barracks, he told the guards on duty that he (Mobila) was thirsty following which he was given water.

According to the prosecution, “he took a sip and three hours later, Alhaji Mobila was dead.”