The DCE for Upper Denkyira West, Daniel Appianin, has been asked to “step aside” by President Nana Akufo-Addo in connection with his comments regarding the lynching of Captain Maxwell Mahama.

According to Minister of Information Mustapha Hamid, Mr Appianin has been ordered to hand over to the Deputy Central Regional Minister. learnt that a letter to that effect was signed Thursday afternoon by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development upon the instructions of the President.

Mr Appianin had said that Captain Mahama, who was lynched on Monday at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region, was part of some military personnel who were protecting Chinese small-scale illegal miners (galamseyers) in a distant forest at Amenase.

Mr Appianin told Accra-based Citi FM’s Bernard Avle on Tuesday morning that contrary to assertions by the spokesperson of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Eric Aggrey-Quarshie, that Captain Mahama was part of a military detachment in the area to fight galamsey, he [Captain Mahama] was rather part of a group of military personnel who were protecting illegal miners.

Captain Maxwell’s uncle, Fred McBagonluri, had also told Citi FM that his nephew was on an anti-galamsey mission. “He told us that there were some galamsey activities happening in the area which is like the epicentre of this criminal enterprise and that upon their arrival, they realised that the perpetrators of this trade have actually moved their equipment further into the forest and now it was really difficult for them to really get access to them. They can hear machines operating but far inside the forest. These were his last words to a friend of mine,” he stated.

According to the DCE, after a highway robbery incident in the area recently, the townsfolk became vigilant about criminals and their operations, thus, their suspicion of Captain Mahama as an armed robber after spotting a pistol on him as he jogged through the town on Monday dawn.

“… I had a call that they had arrested one of the armed robbers, armed and in the cause of exchanging gunshots with them, they’ve killed him. I called my police commander, he told me they’ve gone to the scene, they’ve taken the body and that he will brief me afterwards. …In the evening, around 6pm, 7pm, then I had information that the supposed armed robber was not [an armed robber] but he was a military man – one of those military men who are protecting the small-scale miners in that forest, I’m talking about very far distance from where the forest is and where the incident took place. The incident took place at Denkyira Obuasi, a very far, long distance to Amenase where the forest is, where those military men are,” Mr Appianin said.

Before the Citi FM interview, Mr Appianin had told Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem on Monday that Captain Mahama “was the leader of the soldiers protecting the Chinese galamseyers, anyone can confirm it from the police hierarchy here, and the BNI as well…” contrary to GAF’s assertion that he was the Commander to a Special Military Detachment at Denkyira Obuasi in the Upper Denkyira West district.

Capt Mahama was lynched on suspicion that he was an armed robber after a group of residents from whom he asked for directions during a Monday dawn jogging session spotted the pistol on him.

The deceased army officer, who was not in any military attire at the time, was attacked by residents allegedly organised by the Assemblyman of the area.

The assemblyman, identified as William Baah, reported himself to the police later.

The decision by the President to ask Mr Appianin to step aside follows Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s comment on Wednesday that the government will take up the issue regarding Captain Mahama’s death seriously and consider the comments made by Mr Appianin.

“I have taken the comments of the social media issue and the very comments apparently by the DCE. We will take all those comments into account and I will report back to the President what the concerns of the family are on social media and all that and will look at how to attack those particular issues,” Dr Bawumia said on Wednesday, May 31.

Prior to Dr Bawumia’s comment, editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide had clamoured for Mr Appianin’s immediate dismissal, describing him as a “disaster.”