Exactly 38 years ago on 30 June 1982, three High Court Judges as well as a retired army officer were murdered in cold blood at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains, after being abducted on the night by some unidentified assailants. The four were Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addo, Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong, Justice Fred Poku Sarkodie and Major Rtd. Sam Acquah.
The murders took place at the Bundase military shooting range in the Accra Plains during the hours of a night-time curfew. Their charred bodies were discovered in the same location the following day.
Following intense pressure on Rawlings and the PNDC, a Special Investigation Board was formed by the government to investigate the murders. In 1992, The Independent reported findings of the Special Investigation Board’s inquiry in Ghana, which it said had recommended the prosecution of 10 people for the murders, including Ghana’s head of national security at the time Kojo Tsikata. Tsikata, who was Rawlings’ right-hand man.
Five people – Joachim Amartey Kwei (then 32 years); L/Cpl Samuel Kwaku Amedeka (27); L/Cpl Michael Senya (21); Johnny Dzandu (23) and Tony Tekpor (24) were tried by a National Public Tribunal, chaired by Mr George Agyekum. The other members of the Tribunal were Madam Comfort Doe; S/Sgt. Mumuni Seidu; Mr Jenkins Kofie and L/Cpl Moses Tonka.
After conviction, they were held at the Nsawam Prison until their execution by a firing squad. Squadron Leader George Tagoe, a former Ghana Air Force officer and a former AFRC prisoner as well, also reported during the sitting of the National Reconciliation Commission that Amartey Quaye had admitted to him while they were in prison that Jerry Rawlings, who was then Chairman of the AFRC and Kojo Tsikata were involved in the killing of the judges.
He further alleged that Rawlings tried to clear allegations of a cover-up, in his own way by apparently attempting to extract confessions just prior to Amartey Quaye’s execution.
The execution was carried out by a firing squad at a shooting range, “near John Teye Memorial School near Nsawam”.
The three High Court Judges were martyred and are remembered in an annual judicial service on the anniversary of their deaths, called Martyrs Day, in Ghana.