The infamous snail seller from whom the late Maxwell Mahama asked directions to Denkyira Obuasi before he was gruesomely murdered by a mob has finally appeared in court to testify in the trial.
Esther Tawiah, aka Maame Krah, was among the three women who were selling by the roadside on that fateful day when the fallen soldier decided to embark on a 20-kilometre walk which eventually led to his lynching after he was mistaken for an armed robber.
14 persons are currently before an Accra High Court charged with murder and abetment to murder of the late soldier.
Led in her evidence-in-chief by Evelyn Keelson, a chief state attorney, the witness told the court that she together with two other women were selling by the road on May 29, 2017 when the soldier approached them to ask for directions to Denkyira Obuase.
“I saw the deceased coming from the left side of the road while I was at the right side. He walked to the right and greeted us and I responded. We were 3 over there. Sister Sara and Amina and myself. He said he was going to Denkyira Obuase but does not know there. I told him he was not far from the place”, the witness narrated.
She said the deceased then asked about the price of the snail, demanding to know how many snails he will get for GH₵20 and I told him he will get five snails.
She said as the deceased turned around and walked away she saw a gun at his waist and upon seeing the gun she became suspicious.
She narrated that she decided to call William Baah the assemblyman, who is a suspect in the trial to inform him of what she had seen.
“I picked up my phone and called him and told him Honourable, please someone was asking about direction to Denkyira Obuasi and as he turned he had a gun on his waist. Kindly check and see if everything is OK, if not then report to the police. He ended the call and I went back to my wares”, Ms. Tawiah told the court.
She said moments later she saw a timber truck coming towards them and the driver told her and her colleagues to run because people were firing gunshots at Denkyira Obuasi.
“We ran to a distance and waited for a while but heard nothing so we came back to our wares to continue selling. We later heard that someone had been caught at Denkyira Obusi, he was beaten and killed.
After I went home, Sister Sara came calling and told me that the person who came to ask for directions from us was the one who was killed and that he was a soldier and she heard his colleagues were coming to the town. Due to that, all the residents absconded. I also ran away to my hometown”, Ms. Tawiah concluded.
During cross-examination, Seidu Nasiri, lawyer for Bernard Asamoah and John Boadi asked her whether she was at the alleged crime scene and she said no.
Another defence counsel, Augustine Obour who is representing Kwame Tufuor and Joseph Appiah Kubi queried “will you agree with me that you do not know how the deceased died” and the witness answered ‘yes.’
Lawyer Patrick Anim-Addo demanded to know where her hometown was and she said the Brong Ahafo Region.
The lawyer then demanded to know why she ran to her hometown and she said “because they said soldiers were coming. I called my husband and told him about the incident. When I got to Brong Ahafo, I reported the matter to the police and I was arrested and brought to Sunyani.
Asked how many days she spent in custody, Ms. Tawiah said she spent about five days in police custody.
The court presided over Justice Mariama Owusu then adjourned the matter to June 19, 2018 for the lawyers to complete their cross-examination.