BY MUNTALLA INUSAH
THE FORENSIC Toxichologist/Chemist of the Ghana Standards Authority, Mr Peter Quartey Papafio, has told the High Court in Accra that the alleged substance which was poured on the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Adams Mahama, was a killer substance.
According to him, a test he conducted on the substance “confirmed it to be Sulfuric acid with a concentration of 16.89 molar, which is a very strong acid with a purity of 90-95% and it is very corrosive and can cause severe injury when it comes into contact with the skin.”
Led by Mr Matthew Amponsah, a Chief State Attorney, to give evidence as the 10th prosecution witness, Mr Papafio said all related materials it examined at the forensic department of the GSA had connection with the said acidic substance.
Below were some of the questions and answers in court yesterday:
- Briefly describe your duties at GSA to the court
Witness: I perform post-mortem samples for the pathologists. I also receive and sample suspected narcotics from the security services. I write and type analytical report for analysis performed and I also tender exhibits and report at the law courts.
- Q. Tell the court what you know about this case
Witness: On the morning of the May 28, 2015, I received some samples/exhibits from the CID Headquarters from an investigator named Augustus Nkrumah, with a rank as a Detective Chief Inspector. The exhibits were sealed with a Ghana Police Service seal and I was to perform examination on the exhibit and issue out a report based on the findings. After the samples were received, I went ahead and gave a full description of what was submitted and separate exhibits which the analyst designated as exhibits (A-H) after the exhibits were designated. I opened each exhibits, to find out what they were and I performed the analysis to determine their content and purpose.
- Q. After that what happened?
Witness: After the inspection and analysis, I issued out a report from the findings and we turned the report to the investigator
- Q. Will you identify this as the report you sent to the police
Witness: Yes my lord, this is the report I sent to the police.
- Q. Is this the original report?
Witness: This is the original report.
- Q. Is it signed?
Witness: It was signed by me and approved by Janet B Aidoo, the head of department, and then the letter head was signed by the director of testing, Mr Charles Amoako, for the Executive Director, Dr George B Crentsil (now retired).
- Q. What do you want to do with the documents?
Witness: With the kind permission of the court, I will like to tender it in evidence. ( Lawyer Osafo Buabeng, leading the defence counsel, perused documents and handed them over to clerk and indicated he had no objection.
The Court: The analytical report conducted by the GSA per the Prosecution Witness 10 is hereby admitted in evidence and marked exhibit E.
Court: With the kind permission, the witness will resend the report to the court and the jury.
Witness told the court that it received eight items on May 28 and performed the test on May 29 and wrote the report on June 1.
He told the court that he received a gallon containing a substance suspected to be acid,(Exhibit A), a carpet of pick up vehicle (Exhibit B), a pair of shoes of the deceased (Exhibit C), a dress (Exhibit D), a piece of foam from the car seat sample (Exhibit E), a bag used to soak substance (Exhibit F), a pair of track suit trousers belonging to Gregory Afoko (Exhibit G), a plastic cup used in pouring the acid (Exhibit H).
- Q. What did u do after that?
Witness: After receiving the exhibits, I described what was written on each exhibit by the police. I then opened each of the exhibits to analyse or examine what was contained in each exhibit.
- Q. Will you explain the method you used?
Witness: Chemicals and Tritrimetrics
- Q. Can you explain those terms?
Witness: Chemical is a regent and solution we use to identify the substance, then the Titrimetrics is the method used to quantify or ascertain the purity of the substance.
Exhibit A, confirmed to be Suphoric Acid with a concentration of 16.89 molar, is a very strong acid with a purity of 90-95% and it is very corrosive and can cause severe injury when it comes into contact with the skin.
- Q. Apart from causing severe injury to the skin, can it cause death?
Witness: Due to the corrosive nature of sulfuric acid, it can cause death upon contact.
Exhibit B: Confirmed to contain residue of sulfuric acid
Exhibit C: Confirmed to contain residues of sulfuric acid
Exhibit D: Confirmed to contain residues of sulfuric acid
Exhibit E: Confirmed to contain residues of sulfuric acid
Exhibit F: Confirmed to contain residues of sulfuric acid
Exhibit G: Confirmed to contain Trace of sulfuric acid
Exhibit H: Contains residues of suphoric acid
Q|: What is the difference between Residues and Trace:
Witness: Residues are colour test and are more pronounced and potent. Traces you have to add more solvent to be able to identify it.
Suphoric acid with the above-mentioned concentration detected in the liquid substance of (exhibit A) is very corrosive and causes severe injury upon contact with the skin. All the exhibits had residues of suphoric acid and traced to the content of exhibit A.
The deterioration of the pair of shoes and clothing is linked to the action of the concentrated suphoric acid due to its corrosive nature.
The reserve sample was sealed and handed over to the case officer.
Q: What was the colour of the sample or the confirmed acid you found in exhibit A, namely the white gallon?
Witness: The content of exhibit A was a liquid substance with a brownish-black colour.
- Q. Now for how long have you worked at GSA?
Witness: I have worked there for 12 years.
To be continued