Why 12 of Major Mahama’s murderers were jailed for life and two were acquitted

Nearly seven years following the tragic killing of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, a former Assembly Member and 11 others were found guilty by a seven-member jury at the High Court in Accra on Monday, providing solace to his bereaved relatives.

William Baah, the former Assembly Member from Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region, was convicted for abetting murder, while Bernard Asamoah, Kofi Nyame, Akwasi Baah, Kwame Tuffuor, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim, Akwesi Asante, Charles Quaining, Emmanuel Baidoo, John Boasie, and Kwadwo Animah were found guilty of conspiring to commit murder.

Additionally, Asamoah, Nyame, Baah, Tuffuor, Kubi, Anim, Asante, and Quaining were convicted of murder.

Bismark Donkor and Bismarck Abanga, among the 12 on trial, were acquitted and discharged from the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

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Due to an amendment to the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), which replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment for murder, all 12 individuals were sentenced to life imprisonment.

This verdict follows a five-year trial at the Criminal Jurisdiction of the High Court, presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, a Supreme Court Justice serving as a High Court Judge.

The courtroom was filled with Major Mahama’s family, including his parents.

Furthermore, the court ruled that Major Mahama’s iPhone 6 Plus should be returned to his family, while the two shotguns and a pistol presented by the prosecution as trial exhibits would be returned to the police and the Ghana Army, respectively.

Maj. Mahama was the captain of the 31-member military team sent to the town to guard the properties of C&G Mining Company as a result of illegal mining activities in the area.


Summing up the case, Justice Owusu summarised the evidence adduced before the court, and explained to the jury the elements for establishing abetment, murder and conspiracy under the laws of the country, vis-à-vis the evidence before the court.

Following the summary, the jury — made up of six men and one woman — retired to their chamber at 12:50 p.m. to determine the fate of the 14.

At 1:15 p.m, they came back to seek clarification on Baidoo’s summary from the judge.

They returned at 1:44 p.m. to deliver their verdict.

The Assembly Member, in his defence, had testified that the military officer pointed a gun at him when he tried to approach him.

He added that following a robbery in the area, he had approached the military officer because a woman had reported to him (the Assembly Member) that a man, armed with a pistol, was heading towards Denkyira Obuasi, and he thought the man was Maj. Mahama.

Under cross-examination by state prosecutors, Asamoah, who did not open his defence, told the court that he saw the deceased being beaten and he picked a stick and hit him on the shoulder and then picked a stone and hit him on the head.

While Kofi Nyame identified himself in a video played in open court participating in the act, Akwasi Baah testified that he threw a cement block at the military man who was on duty.

Tuffuor, in his caution statement, also said upon hearing of the robbery, he immediately rushed to his house and took a brick to hit Maj. Mahama.

Kubi also confessed to having used a stick to hit the victim, while Anim, who had earlier denied hitting the deceased with a cement block, later admitted to it under cross-examination.

Boasie, who was seen dragging and stamping on Maj. Mahama in the video, admitted to taking part in the act.

Asante was seen holding a gun in the video, and the prosecution presented bullets from the gun as evidence. 

Baidoo, on the other hand, had told the jury in his statement that he was in a vehicle, and denied taking part in the act.

However, under cross-examination, he testified that after seeing the others attack Maj. Mahama, he picked a stone but later changed his mind and asked the victim where he hailed from.

Animah was also seen taking part in the lynching by removing the victim’s clothes.

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Release exhibits

Contrary to the prosecution’s claim that he physically attacked the victim, Donkor admitted to being at the scene but said Maj. Mahama was already dead, adding that he did not play any role, while Abanga was only seen taking pictures in the video and none of the prosecution witnesses refuted that.


After the sentencing, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, cautioned individuals who engage in mob justice to desist from such acts, saying “justice will ultimately catch up with you; if you think that you can resort to justice by yourself, then you yourself will be dealt with in accordance with the law”.

He said the final verdict would serve as a lesson to the convicts and the public and congratulated the investigating team on putting together the necessary evidence in court.

Brief facts

The facts presented by the prosecution were that Maj. Mahama was the commander of a military detachment stationed at Diaso in the Upper Denkyira West District in the Central Region to check illegal mining activities.

At 8 a.m. on May 29, 2017, Maj. Mahama, wearing civilian clothes but with his sidearm, left his detachment base for a 20-kilometre jog.

At 9:25 a.m., the military officer got to the outskirts of Denkyira Obuasi, where some women were selling foodstuffs by the roadside.

He stopped to interact with the women and even bought some snails, which he left in their custody to be taken up on his return from jogging.

While he was taking out money from his pocket to pay for the snails, the woman from whom he had bought the snails and a few others saw his sidearm tucked to his waist.

Soon after he left, one of the women telephoned the assembly member for Denkyira Obuasi to report what they had seen.

“Without verifying the information, the assembly member mobilised the accused persons and others, some now at large, to attack the military officer,” the prosecution averred.

It added that the mob met Maj. Mahama near the Denkyira Obuasi cemetery and, without allowing him to explain and identify himself, “attacked him with implements such as clubs, cement blocks and machetes, killed him and burnt a portion of his body”.

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