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Today in 1982, Three Ghanaian Judges Were Killed

On the 30th of June in 1982, three High Court judges— Justices Kwadwo Adjei Agyepong, Poku Sarkodie and Mrs. Cecelia Koranteng-Addow , a nursing mother— were killed.

The three justices were murdered together with a retired Major in the Ghana Armed Forces. Sam Acquah, the retired major was the Director of Personnel at the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC).

Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow

The four were branded as ‘enemies of the revolution’ by the  then Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) which was led by Mr Jerry John Rawlings. This is because the judges, according to Roger Gockings’ History of Ghana, had overturned judgements handed by the AFRC’s People’s Revolutionary Courts. It turned out that all the three judges were sitting reviewing cases brought to them by aggrieved citizens in connection with the treatment meted out to them by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council junta led by Mr Rawlings after the 4 June 1979 coup.

The three Justices: From left, Justice Sarkodie, Justice Kornagteng-Addow and Justice Agyepong.

As for Major Sam Acquah,  his crime was that he had signed letters that led to the dismissal of some agitating workers, including a PNDC member Joachim Amartey Kwei.  These members were dismissed after invading and destroying property at Ghana’s Parliament house.


Lance Corporal Amedeka, Tony Tekpor and Dzandu, all soldiers, had taken their captives to the Bondase military firing range and executed them. The murderers carried along a gallon of petrol with which they set fire to the bodies to cover up their crime.

But  historical accounts have noted that it rained that night, so the bodies did not burn as the murderers wanted.

Ever since the incident, the nation has not really moved on. Several people have accused former president Jerry John Rawlings as the mastermind behind these murders. However, prior to these accusations, Jerry John Rawlings had come on national television to denounce what he described as “hideous crimes of terrosrism”, after the bodies of the judges were discovered.

Following a public outcry, the PNDC set up the Special Investigation Board (SIB) headed by former Chief Justice Mr. Justice Azu Crabbe to unravel the mystery.

In their report, the SIB established that the abduction and murder was a plot hatched with the connivance of members of the PNDC. The SIB also found that the  entire plot was master-minded by Capt. Kojo Tsikata, PNDC Member in charge of National Security. However, the PNDC rejected that particular aspect of the report and let Capt. Tsikata and four others off the hook for lack of evidence.

The remaining four of the nine suspects were jailed. When on 19 June 1983, there was a jail-break at the Nsawam Medium Prisons and the Ussher Fort Prisons, L/Cpl Amedeka escaped from captivity and has since not been seen. But his three accomplices, Tony Tekpor, Dzandu and Hekli, as well as ex-PNDC Members Amartey Kwei, were executed by firing squad.

Mr Rawlings has always insisted that before Amartey Kwei was executed, he confessed, at the stakes, to falsely accusing Mr Tsikata of involvement.

But Ghana has still not moved on past this mystery.

In 2019, Joy News made a documentary retelling the story of the whole incident. Several discussions were started on the issue but just like several other issues in Ghana, the discussions ended just where they started, in the media.




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