Details have started emerging about the identity of Charles Antwi, the 36-year-old man and native of Dadeasoaba in the Brong-Ahafo Region, accused of attempting to kill President John Dramani Mahama.
Charles Antwi, who has been handed a 10-year jail term for holding an unlicensed gun, is said to have been deported from Italy because of his purported mental illness.
According to his mother, Afia Agyepomaa, Antwi has a record of mental illness as he abuses her when he is in his elements and calls her ‘adoe’ (monkey).
Ghanaians woke up last Monday morning to the shocking news of Antwi’s arrest after a botched attempt to eliminate the president of the land.
This was disclosed by the Ministry of Communications in a statement that read in part, ‘The National Security Secretariat has taken into custody a 36-year-old man who was arrested today with a weapon at the Ringway Gospel Centre branch of the Assemblies of God Church,’ where the president worships.
According to the statement which was signed by Communications Minister, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, the man was arrested ‘after his fidgety and suspicious behaviour was noticed during the morning service’ and ‘was escorted out by security personnel and following a search, the weapon was found.’
Fortunately however, President Mahama and family were not in church when the incident occurred.
Charles, who it has emerged was formerly domiciled in Italy, was then sent to the Cantonments police station under whose jurisdiction he wanted to carry out his purported intention.
Later information emerged that he had confessed to have gone there with intent to kill the president.
Subsequently, the investigating authorities were said to have sent Charles to various places he was believed to have visited before eventually arriving in Accra where he was kept under lock and key for investigations to continue.
He was taken to the Tafo hospital where he was once treated for mental illness by a fetish priest in Tanoso in the Brong-Ahafo Region. In spite of Charles Antwi’s reported mental illness, he was put before court and subsequently convicted by the trial judge, Justice Francis Obiri.
Drama In Court
The charges against him was not related the president – possession of firearm without licence – almost truncating any investigations which could have established whether he had any accomplices or had been sent to kill the president – if his claim was anything to go by.
The sentencing followed his admission in court, changing his initial pleading of not guilty to guilty.
One would have thought he would show some sense of remorse but Charles noted that he had to fight to eliminate president Mahama because he was not ruling the country properly.
He claimed he made President Mills to die, expecting that he would be made the next president, but President Mahama, who was at the time of President Mills’ death the vice president, stole the presidency from him (Charles Antwi).
Charles said he was directed to go to the church where he could find the president by a certain military officer at the ‘Castle’ whose name he did not mention.
But the circumstance surrounding his conviction has sparked a raging controversy and debate.
This is in view of the fact that not only did the judge refuse the pleadings of a friend of the court (amicus curiae), lawyer Augustine Gyamfi, for the judge to refer the young man to a psychiatric doctor to examine him, but the fact that he also did not allow him an opportunity to be represented by a legal counsel, provoking an instant debate among lawyers and ordinary citizens.
People do not understand why the judge refused to refer Charles to a psychiatric hospital for examination, in view of the weird claims he made and the inconsistencies in his statements.
But the judge insisted that Charles was sane and that the intention of the accused was clear and that if he had succeeded in killing the president, he could have plunged the country into a state of chaos and anarchy.
Hours later, his mother, Afia Agyapomaa, came on air to say Charles was mentally challenged, confirming the suspicion of many who had criticized the judge’s decision to sentence him to 10years’ imprisonment without subjecting him to mental scrutiny.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s late afternoon political show, ‘Ekosii Sen,’ Madam Afia Agyapomaa confirmed that her son had been mentally imbalanced for some time now.
She said the convict, who is the seventh of her eight children, had for the past two years been threatening that he would kill President Mahama.
It has emerged that Charles left home in Dadeasoaba on a motorbike sometime last week and headed for Accra to carry out his intention.
Details have also emerged that Charles once travelled to Libya and later to Spain and then to Italy where he was seeking ‘greener pastures’ before eventually being deported to Ghana after the authorities in those countries detected his mental challenge.
Three of the friends he travelled with to Libya were said to have had similar problems before they died.
A friend of his had also narrated that he (Charles) had promised to make him his body guard when he becomes president and that sometimes chains his motorbike to his hand when going to bed to avoid being stolen.
He was said to be driving a taxi in his village but had to be restrained because he could not abide by basic road regulations.
According to his own friend, Charles used to drive at 180kph on deplorable roads in the area and used nine minutes to cover a distance that every driver used 30 minutes to do; and that when he was asked to stop he pleaded with the drivers’ union to allow him drive at 150kmph, which defied logic.
With calls intensifying for Charles Antwi to be sent to a psychiatric doctor, a group of lawyers are said to be teaming up to go and appeal against his conviction since they believe he was not fairly treated.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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