My first assembly with Prof. Emmanuel Yaw Benneh was in his workplace on the College of Ghana Legislation College, the place he had taught for 30 years.

He wasn’t your typical outspoken regulation lecturer. He wasn’t a social commentator and if nothing introduced you his means, you may not find out about his existence should you weren’t his scholar, colleague lecturer or inside his social circles.

He minded his enterprise, however he hated injustice.

The topic of my assembly with him was the delay, or moderately, the denial of his promotion by authorities of the college. The College of Ghana is infamous for such soiled inner politics and nepotism. As I write this, I do know plenty of individuals who deserve sure positions however are being put aside as a result of they don’t belong to the “proper” cliques. They don’t have favour with those that matter on the high. My sources within the college say such soiled politics is at its all-time peak now.

That could be a dialogue for an additional day.

Prof. Benneh fought his case and petitioned till he was given a listening ear. He was ultimately promoted to an affiliate professor and his entitlements had been paid to him.

“These of us on the college had been very happy with him as a result of he fought the system and received,” a colleague regulation lecturer instructed me Saturday evening.

My second encounter with Prof. Benneh was on the Kotoka Worldwide Airport final 12 months. We ran into one another whereas going via arrival formalities. We exchanged pleasantries briefly earlier than heading to choose up our baggage.

Between our two conferences, nonetheless, Prof. Benneh had been on my thoughts plenty of instances. My relative labored near his home and you may not move by that home with out noticing its imposing magnificence. It wasn’t only a mansion. It’s like a palace or a fortress.

Like a particularly lovely girl, should you handed by that home with out trying again, then you definitely’re both blind or stiff-necked.

“Ei, what a home!”

“That’s Benneh’s home?”

“Which Benneh?”

“Which Benneh have you learnt?”

“It’s very enormous. I’m wondering how many individuals stay right here.”

“He lives alone…”

Probably the most magnificent mansions in Ghana’s primest places are inhabited by one or two individuals. In some circumstances, the homeowners are overseas and caretakers stay of their quarters and keep the primary buildings. So it wasn’t distinctive with Prof. Benneh.

He had just one baby, a son who lives in the USA. His colleagues say he’d by no means been married.

For those who met Prof. Benneh on the town, you’ll assume you met a pauper should you’re a type of who choose individuals by the kind of automobiles they drive. However should you adopted him dwelling, you’ll ask the query plenty of individuals requested me after I reported from his home on Saturday they usually noticed photographs of the home.

“In order that mansion belongs to a college lecturer?” one individual requested.

Benneh’s colleague lecturer instructed me he had been constructing that home for the previous 25 years. It had been his venture since he returned from the College of Cambridge and began instructing, he stated. And he was nonetheless furnishing it on the time he died.

I used to be awoken from sleep with the information of the ugly homicide of Prof. Benneh. I drove there to scavenge for information, however I didn’t assume I might be allowed in. The whole home, I believed could be a criminal offense scene, however I wished to nostril round and converse to whoever I might converse to. However I received greater than that.

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 A person who described himself because the late Prof. Benneh’s “houseboy” and an previous man who stated he was the deceased’s uncle allowed me in after I launched myself as a journalist.

The houseboy, Isaac Botwe, led me to the smaller of the 2 buildings. I had by no means observed this one although I had handed by the home many instances. The late Benneh wasn’t residing in the primary constructing, the imposing mansion. The doorway to the small constructing was on the again, a bit obscure.

Isaac Botwe led Benneh’s uncle and me to the precise crime scene, the spot his lifeless physique was discovered. Later some neighbours and family members got here in. All of them gained entry to the crime scene with none problem, one thing his uncle wasn’t happy about.

“That is the place his physique was discovered,” Isaac stated. “His fingers and legs had been tied and he was mendacity in a pool of blood.”

Isaac had simply washed the blood, however the place his lifeless physique had lain – between the corridor and the bed room – nonetheless had blood stains on the white marble flooring and trickles splattered on the decrease a part of the wall.

Above, hung a portrait of the late Benneh. Beneath his portrait was that of a good-looking younger man stated to be his son. There have been different portraits too. Amongst them was the {photograph} of Professor Kofi Awoonor, who was shot and killed by terrorists within the Kenya Westgate Mall assault in 2013.

“I’ve rearranged right here,” Isaac continued his grim narration. “It appears he struggled with them earlier than they killed him so right here was scattered. It’s as if he tried to expire.”

Isaac, who stated he lived in Accra Central, had spoken with him on the telephone on Thursday evening at about 8pm. They’d talked concerning the mechanics who had come to work on his automobile.

Prof. Benneh had despatched a driver on the regulation college to purchase a automobile half at Abbosey Okai and when he returned with the automobile half on Friday, all makes an attempt to achieve him failed. That’s why the regulation college grew to become alarmed.

The story on Saturday was {that a} gardener had come to work that Saturday morning, and realised his automobile was there however when he knocked many instances, Prof. Benneh didn’t reply. He due to this fact went to Benneh’s sister, who lived not far-off and a carpenter was introduced in to interrupt the door.

There was no proof of a carpenter intervening.

The police instructed me later {that a} carpenter was referred to as, however one of many home staff had a key so it wasn’t damaged into. That solutions Isaac’s question about the place the carpenter touched. However he had insisted solely the late Prof. and him (Isaac) had the important thing to the room.

The door to his room was intact. And the home windows had been locked and had not been tampered with.

“He made us purchase locks for all these home windows,” Isaac went on, “when his relative was killed. All these home windows had been locked and the primary door was locked. There was no break-in so whoever killed him might have been given entry by Prof. himself. The individual knew him.”

Prof. Yaw Benneh hated injustice. He has suffered a type of injustice that’s worse than the one he confronted on the College of Ghana. However he’s not right here to combat it. This combat is within the fingers of the Ghana Police Service. As I left his home, the thought that got here to thoughts was whether or not justice could be served or that he could be added to the lengthy listing of unresolved murders within the nation.

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I hoped his story could be totally different however feared it could be the identical. What I had seen in his home was disturbing.

I’m an investigative journalist, however not a police detective. However all types of felony investigations observe a broad define – going after proof, which somebody is fascinated with hiding or destroying.

In homicide investigations, not like corruption, the stakes are greater as a result of there are sometimes no documentary traces. When the incident will not be captured on CCTV cameras or the killer will not be caught within the act, as in Prof. Benneh’s case, then much more sophistication is required to hyperlink the crime to the criminals. Proving it in court docket is much more tough.

After I received to Prof. Benneh’s home, I used to be instructed the physique had simply been conveyed to the police hospital. There was no single police officer or detective in the home. The crime scene was not secured. Nothing confirmed that it was a criminal offense scene.

Right here’s the place Prof. Benneh’s physique was discovered. One of many suspects at present in custody was managing the crime scene instantly the physique was taken away. He gave me entry into the place.

The “houseboy” and different individuals of curiosity had not been questioned or picked up.

It was after I was about to depart that the siren of a police Toyota Camry blared exterior. Along with the houseboy and people in the home, we met the 2 occupants of the car on the entrance.

“We’re not coming in,” the senior of the 2 policemen, who recognized himself because the station officer of the East Legon police, stated.

He wished to know the place in order that within the evening, he would ship a police man to protect the home “till additional discover.” They left instantly.

As I left the home, I knew why many homicide circumstances are left unresolved in Ghana. You can not take away the physique with out securing the crime scene. Any argument that the detectives might have gotten every thing they wanted earlier than conveying the physique doesn’t make investigative sense.

You can not get every thing in a single swoop, particularly earlier than you even determine the individuals of curiosity.

On Sunday, the police introduced that they’d picked up all 4 home staff of Prof. Benneh to assist in the investigations. Amongst them is Isaac Botwe, the houseboy who cleaned the blood and rearranged the room after the physique was conveyed.

In essence, one of many suspects being held was the one who managed the crime scene. If he had any proof to erase, wouldn’t he do it?

The “houseboy” and different individuals of curiosity had not been questioned or picked up.

It was after I was about to depart that the siren of a police Toyota Camry blared exterior. Along with the houseboy and people in the home, we met the 2 occupants of the car on the entrance.

“We’re not coming in,” the senior of the 2 policemen, who recognized himself because the station officer of the East Legon police, stated.

He wished to know the place in order that within the evening, he would ship a police man to protect the home “till additional discover.” They left instantly.

As I left the home, I knew why many homicide circumstances are left unresolved in Ghana. You can not take away the physique with out securing the crime scene. Any argument that the detectives might have gotten every thing they wanted earlier than conveying the physique doesn’t make investigative sense.

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You can not get every thing in a single swoop, particularly earlier than you even determine the individuals of curiosity.

On Sunday, the police introduced that they’d picked up all 4 home staff of Prof. Benneh to assist in the investigations. Amongst them is Isaac Botwe, the houseboy who cleaned the blood and rearranged the room after the physique was conveyed.

In essence, one of many suspects being held was the one who managed the crime scene. If he had any proof to erase, wouldn’t he do it?

If there’s the necessity to take fingerprints and different forensic particulars of Isaac, for example, and hyperlink him to the crime, they might want to return to the crime scene. If they should do identical for different individuals of curiosity who could also be talked about in the middle of the investigation, they would wish to return.

However the doorways and tables and chairs and the ground of the room the place the late Professor was murdered have been touched by many individuals, together with me.

If Isaac’s fingers are traced to any object within the room, he can argue that he was the one who cleaned and rearranged the place after the physique was conveyed so his biometric traces needed to be there. I’ve watched actual life investigation the place the DNA of a strand of human hair discovered within the crime scene was an important piece of proof that linked the killer to the crime.

On this case, nonetheless, the crime scene which might maintain the important thing to many vital items of proof was tousled instantly the physique was conveyed. The forensics have been compromised.

Our police should sit up and step up their recreation. In every case they’re dealing with, there must be fixed updates and at every degree of the investigation. They may give the general public particulars and ask for particular help with out compromising the investigations.

Individuals typically have info to share. As a result of I coated Benneh’s story, I used to be contacted with a lead, which I shared with the police. However essentially the most disturbing concern is that many individuals don’t belief the police.

When the diplomat was kidnapped in Accra final 12 months, somebody who knew the kidnapper reached out to me. After I received him the contact of the lead investigator engaged on the case, he refused to fulfill him except I used to be a part of the assembly.

Individuals don’t belief the police.

Somebody as soon as reached out to me after I did a narrative that concerned capturing. The principle suspect had, on three separate events, requested this individual the place he might get a pistol to purchase. This was shortly earlier than the capturing incident, however this supply refused to cooperate with the police.

Within the 2015 Benita Dankwa capturing incident in Tema, the police did not safe the crime scene. It emerged in court docket {that a} blood-soaked towel, which was an important piece of proof, was later given by the primary suspect to the sufferer’s cousin to clean. This could have made the investigation and prosecution earlier if the police had discovered this and confronted the husband, the one one who was within the room when Benita awoke with a bullet via her chest.

If the quite a few homicide circumstances are to be resolved, the police have to be extra skilled of their investigations and provides most people the arrogance to come back ahead with info.

I pray that Prof. Benneh’s killers are discovered and punished. But when they aren’t discovered, a part of the explanation can be how the investigators went about their work.

The author, Manasseh Azure Awuni, is a contract investigative journalist. His electronic mail handle is [email protected]



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