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Thursday, November 25, 2010

CEPS Officer defiles 2 daughters and a son

Thursday, November 25,2010 By
Stephen Kwabena Effah


A 34-year-old Customs Officer is facing trial for allegedly sexually assaulting his two daughters, aged seven and 16. Mihael Kojo Brentuo Acquah was yesterday put before the Accra Gender-based Violence Court charged with incest.

Aside that, he is also alleged to have played with the buttocks of his three-year-old son, which caused him pains.

Acquah, pleaded not guilty to three counts of defilement and incest, and was remanded into police custody by the court, presided over by Mrs.Gerogina Mensah- Datsah, until December 8.

Prosecution told the court that Acquah and his family lived at Mamprobi Banana Inn, and sometime this year, he started defiling his two daughters in their room.

Police Prosecutor Sara Ekua Acquah said the accused person’s son complained to his mother that he had been experiencing pains after his father “played” with his buttocks.

The prosecution said when his wife confronted him over his son’s allegation against him, Acquah took offence and rained insults on her.”

Later, there was a misunderstanding between the accused person and his wife, ASP Acquah said, adding that at that point, the 16-year old daughter informed the mother that the accused person had been having sexual intercourse with her and her younger sister.

According to the prosecution, the 16-year old told her mother that the accused person threatened to take her to her grandmother in the village should she ever reveal the sexual escapades to her mother.

ASP Acquah told the court that the last time the accused had sex with the 16-year old girl was on November 11.

The mother of the victims then reported the matter to the police which issued them with medical forms for examination.

The accused person was later arrested and put before court.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Court grants another caocaine suspect bail

November 24, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday granted one more person in the 125-slab Tema cocaine case, GH 150,000-bail with two sureties with one of which must be justified.

Granting the bail to Edward Kojo Arhin a clering agent ysterday, Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, the presiding judge, gave the Attorney General one week to justify the continuous detention of Anthony Wilson, one of the four accused persons in the case.

A seven-month old pregnant woman, Kyerewaa Twum-Barimah was the first person to be granted bail.

While Kyerewaa was granted bail on November 10, in view of her pregnancy, Arhin was granted bail yesterday because the court held that he is a clearing agent who was given a job to do.

The two other, Benjamin Armstrong, Chief Executive of Pharma Plus and Anthony Wilson, Operations Manager of the same company, are accused of placing the order for the petroleum additives in which the cocaine was found.

They have been remanded in police custody until November 30.

According to the judge he gave the order because, the facts presented so far by the prosecution led by Principal State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson, had not specified any direct role played by Wilson in the alleged importation of the cocaine which has a street value of GH 10 million.

The four accused persons are facing charges of conspiracy to import and importation of narcotic drugs without licence. But the four pleaded not guilty to the charges when they made their third appearance in court yesterday.

When the case was called, counsel for Armstrong and Wilson, Mr. Joe Debrah, moved a motion praying the court to discharge his clients because neither of them packaged the goods into the container nor had control over the shipping process.

He argued that the container was consigned to Consolidated Shipping Services (CSS) and not his clients, adding that all legal documents including the bill of laden named CSS as the consignee and the notifying party.

“By shipping law, it is the consignee which has control over the container,” Mr. Debrah contended, adding that technically the Agricultural Development Bank, which granted the letters of credit on the imports, is the owner of the goods until they have been paid for.

He said the container was never in their possession, and that it was Mearsk Shipping line and CSS which had control over the container, adding that even when the container arrived, the seal had been tampered with and the prosecution is aware of this.

Mr. Debrah also drew the court’s attention to what he termed unconstitutional incarceration of his clients before their arraignment on October 26, although they were arrested on October 18.

He averred that the period his clients spent in custody before being put before court was illegal and the court must accordingly discharge on that basis spect, or alternatively grant his clients bail.

He said they were ready to avail themselves for the trial if granted bail

According to Mr. Debrah: “Armstrong is a US citizen who came to this country to establish business to employ eight people for a better Ghana.”

Counsel for Kyerewaa and Arhin, Mr. Dubik Yakubu Mahama, on his part described his clients arrest as unreasonable, since they are just clearing agents and not the consignee of the container.

Opposing the motion, Mrs.Keelson said after placing the order, Armstrong went to the US to finalise the shipment processes while Wilson is the one in charge of the company’s operations.

She said it was Wilson who contracted and handed over the bill of laden and money to the clearing agents to clear the goods from the port.

She said that there were a number of issues to be investigated in view of the nature of the case, and she therefore urged the court not to grant the accused persons bail since they could interfere with investigations.

She said the accused persons were liable irrespective of the fact that they are clearing agents.

It is the prosecution’s case that Pharma Plus placed an order from US for fuel additives which arrived in the country on October 9, and contained the products as well as advertising T-Shirts and four travelling bags in which the cocaine was found.

According to the prosecution, when it was opened, 125 slabs of substances suspected to be cocaine were found in the bag, adding that an initial test proved positive. It has since been sent to the Ghana Standards Board for further test.

The prosecution said Kyerewaa and Arhin, who are the clearing agents, were the first persons to be present when the container was opened.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kombian Bribed Prisons Officer to Escape

Tuesday, November 23,2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The 35-year-old jail-breaker, Johnson Kombian, has told police investigators that a prison officer at the Tamale Central Prisons charged him GH¢ 4,000 to aid his escape on January 15.

This was disclosed by Chief State Attorney, Anthony Rexford Owiredu, yesterday when Kombian was arraigned at the Accra Circuit Court on a charge of escaping from lawful custody.

According to the prosecution, Kombian told the police during interrogation that the Prison officer provided him with a knife and the key to his handcuff which aided him to escape. He has told the police that he would be able to identify the officer.

The presence of Kombian, popularly known as Burger, brought activities at the 28th February Courts, otherwise known as Cocoa Affairs, courts to a halt, as people abandoned their work to catch a glimpse of him.

Looking helpless and weary, Kombian, whose plea was not taken, was remanded to police custody until December 8, pending further investigations by the police.

Kombian, escaped from the Tamale Central Prisons on January 15, while serving a five-year sentence for escaping from Gambaga Prisons, and went into hiding until last Friday when he was arrested by Interpol in neighbouring Togo.

He was extradited to Ghana on Sunday, to face prosecution.

Heavily armed police personnel including plain clothes men took positions close to the courtroom, as Kombian, who could hardly stand on his feet, was escorted into the one-story wooden structure courtroom.

He came in bare-chested, but the police later brought a polo T-shirt and was assisted to put it on because he was injured in the right arm.

Kombian was occasionally heard groaning in pain while he sat on the floor in a handcuff.

Court officials and police personnel on duty at the 28th February Courts trooped the courtroom before proceedings began to take photographs of him.

Mr. Owiredu described Kombian as a “widely known” person with three wives, in Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Nalerigu.

Counsel for Kombian, George Asomani, said the charge against his client was a misdemeanour and given his condition, urged the court to direct the police to give him the necessary medical attention.

He also expressed dissatisfaction about media reportage on his arrest, and asked the court to give an order for the media to stop what he termed “media trial”

But the judge, Mr. Eric Kyei-Baffour, said the courts have a limit in giving orders to the media “in order not to gag them.”

He asked the police to ensure that the accused is given the needed medical attention.

Amina's trial begins

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah


Hearing began yesterday in the case of Amina Mohammed, the lady at the centre of the l alleged robbery and mass rape on a bus, with the testimony of the driver of the said bus, SamuelAsiedu Sasu.

Amina is facing charges of publishing false news with intent to cause fear and alarm, and deceiving a public officer at an Accra Circuit Court, and has since November 5, been granted bail by the Accra Human Rights Court.

The young mother of three was charged following her comments on a private radio station that male passengers on board a Tamale-bound bus, on which she was travelling, were forced by armed robbers to rape the female passengers after robbing them.

Led in evidence by State Attorney Paul Asibi Abariga, Mr. Sasu told the court that he met Amina at the Police Headquarters three months ago when he was invited there in connection with the alleged incident.

According to Mr. Sasu who said he is a commercial driver by profession, he loaded his bus with registration number GN 263-10 on October 11 at the Neoplan Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra.

He said his bus, which was the second one to load, left the station at 10:00 pm to Tamale-Bolga – Bawku and when they got to Kubiase CEPS barrier, “I saw a blockade with logs of wood”.

He said there was a cargo vehicle ahead of him which drove through. He said he then heard some gun-shots “so instantly I knew something was happening”, adding that he then drove through the blockade but the bus was shot at, causing the windscreen to break.

He said when they got to Kubiase, he had to stop to remove one of the logs which had got stuck under the bus. He said the passengers got down to inspect the bumper and the windscreen which were affected.

Mr.Sasu said they also stopped other vehicles coming from Kumasi towards the area to warn them of the blockade ahead. He said they then continued the journey until they got to the Ejisu Police Station where he reported the incidence.

The officers on duty inspected the damage on the bus after which they took a statement from me and issued me with a police report, he told the court.

He said they were then cleared to continue the journey, indicating “we didn’t stop anywhere until we got to Kintampo,” where he said he stoped for some of the passengers to pray and others to brush their teeth.

He said told the court that it was daybreak when they got to Kintampo. From Kintampo, he said they did not stop anywhere until they got to Tamale where some of the passengers alighted.

Others, he said got down in Bolga, noting that at that point, there were only few passengers left so he had to look for another bus for them to continue to Bawku while he returned to Tamale to load for Accra.

Before loading, he told the court that he went for a photographer to take photos of the damaged portion of the bus.

Upon reaching Accra, he said he took the bus to his company where it was repaired to enable him to resume work.

Mr.Sasu said that about two weeks later while in Tamale, he had a call from someone who said he was calling from the Police Headquarters. He said the person asked him of his name and car number and whether his bus was involved in any incident on October 11 which he replied affirmatively.

He told the court that the person then asked that he reported to the Police Headquarters upon his return to Accra. He said upon his arrival he reported and a statement was taken from him again.

The case continues this afternoon with the cross-examination.

Amina was arraigned in court on November 2 and remanded to police custody, after she was detained by the police for three days. She was invited by the police to assist in investigations into the case but she was later charged.

Her remand followed the prosecution’s plea to the effect that investigations were ongoing to get the other passengers on board the Yutong bus with registration number GN 263-10, hence granting her bail would compromise investigations.

Dissatisfied with the Circuit Court’s decision, the defence team filed an appeal at the Human Rights court which granted Amina bail on the grounds that the charges against her were misdemeanour.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Court throws out NLC's suit against POTAG

Saturday, November 13, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The Accra High Court has thrown out the suit brought against the striking Polytechnic teachers by the National Labour Commission (NLC) describing its directive to the teachers as “arbitrary and pre-mature.”

The Labour and Industrial Division of the court, in dismissing the NLA’s suit against the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) yesterday said it found no reasonable grounds to grant the reliefs sought.

It consequently ordered the NLA to appoint a mediator within seven days from yesterday, to meet with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and POTAG to settle the striking teachers’ unresolved issues of conditions of service.

The presiding judge, Justice Kwabena Asuman-Adu said there was the need for the industrial impasse between NLC and POTAG to be resolved for industrial harmony to prevail, and urged that “the dispute is settled in good faith”

He, therefore, appealed to the teachers who have been on strike for the past month, to return to the classrooms in the interest of the students and the nation.

No cost was awarded.

Meanwhile, the Court’s ruling yesterday brought relief to the large number of POTAG members who thronged the court.

The NLC last month sued POTAG seeking to compel the teachers group to enter into compulsory arbitration with the FWSC following POTAG’s refusal to comply with its directive of October 15.

But the court held that the NLC erred in directing POTAG to go into “compulsory voluntary arbitration,” saying “there is nothing in the Labour Act like compulsory voluntary arbitration…so this court is in a fix as to the specific Act the applicant want this court to enforce”.

The court advised adjudicating institutions to make their orders “specific and unambiguous”.

It held that the NLC could come to court to compel a party to comply with its directive only when all procedures under the Labour Act have been exhausted, noting that in the substantive case, it failed to do so.

Further, the court said from the evidence available, there was no doubt that POTAG condition of service had expired since 2006.

The court said it found evidence that POTAG had at all times been ready for negotiations with the FWSC, and it was the latter which had not shown readiness for the negotiation process.

“It is surprising the applicant is seeking this order when nothing is done with the FWSC which has not shown any commitment,” the court observed.

Shortly after the ruling, General Secretary of POTAG, Anthony Ayakwah, told journalists they were happy with the courts decision, which he said has vindicated them, adding “it showed we were being treated as irrelevant”

Touching on the court’s plea to them to return to the classroom, he said, the decision rest with the General Council of POTAG, which he said, is expected to meet today to decide on the next line of action.

He also welcomed the intervention by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, indicating that the MPs had always wanted government’s intervention in the matter.

The NLC initiated a legal action against POTAG for refusing to comply with its October 15, directive to POTAG to enter into compulsory arbitration to resolve their terms and conditions of service which had expired since 2006.

POTAG in a letter to the NLC dated August 25 raised issues with the suspension of the migration of the polytechnic staff to the Integrated Payroll Database (IPPD) 2 of the Controller and Accountant's Department, and discussion of unresolved issues in their conditions of service.

The NLC invited the FWSC and POTAG for a hearing on the issues raised by POTAG at which it directed the FWSC to meet POTAG to address the concerns of the teachers and thereafter report to the commission.

However, POTAG in a letter dated October 16, 2010, registered its protest against the NLC’s directive and questioned why POTAG should return to the classroom and at the same time be directed to go for arbitration.

When contacted by the Times to find out the NCC’s reaction to the ruling, the Executive Secretary of the NCC, Emmanuel Briku-Boadu, said the seven member commission will meet to take a decision on the issue.

2 Prison Officers Charged With Aiding Convict's Escape

Thursday November 11, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The two interdicted prison officers, from whose custody a convict escaped at an Accra High Court, were yesterday granted GH 10,000 bail each with two sureties, when they were arraigned at the Accra Regional Tribunal.

Assistant Chief Officer Godfred Asah, 52 and Corporal Nana Appiah-Kubi, 37, who have pleaded not guilty to aiding escape, were given bail following a submission by their counsel, Alexander Abam to admit them to bail.

They are to appear again on November 16.

Prosecuting DSP E.Y Frimpong, told the court that the two officers are stationed at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons and on October 27, they took the escapee, 41-year old Yaw Asamoah to an Accra High Court.

He said Asamoah until his escape, was serving a 20-year sentence at the Nsawam Prisons for armed robbery, and was taken to the Accra High Court where he escaped for another rape and murder case.

He had pleaded guilty for murdering a pastor of the Light House Chapel during an armed robbery operation late last year and was appearing for a judgement in the case.

Narrating the circumstance surrounding the escape, DSP Frimpong told the Tribunal that the two officers arrived at the court at 8:00am when the court was in session.

According to the prosecution, the accused persons (the officers) removed the handcuffs of the convict without a guard, and left the courtroom to engage in a telephone conversation.

“Convict took advantage of the unprofessional conduct of the accused persons and escaped without notice,” he told the Tribunal adding that information reached the Accra Regional Police Command which visited the scene to confirm the incident.

He said after investigations, the accused persons were released for prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Prison Service has posted a reward of GH¢1,000 for the capture of Asamoah.

Asamoah, a trader is said to be about 5ft, 3 inches tall, dark-brown in complexion and speaks Twi, Ga and English. He hails from Mpraeso-Kwahu in the Eastern Region and has a round face with multiple scars.

Security Boss Summoned

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday, directed its registry to serve a hearing notice on the National Security Co-ordinator to appear in court on November 15, for the case of the 88 ex-national security operatives whose appointments have been terminated.

The case which was supposed to have started yesterday had to be because there was no certificate of proof of service on the defendants.

The court, presided over by a Court of Appeal judge, Justice C. Honyenuga, asked counsel for the 88 former security operatives, Captain Nkrabea Effah-Dartey (rtd) to direct service.

The personnel are seeking a declaration that they are entitled to end- of- service benefits upon the termination of their appointment, which is consistent within the conditions governing their employment as staff of the National Security Secretariat.

The former security operatives, who worked under the Kufuor administration, are also seeking an order compelling the National Security Co-ordinator and the Attorney General to pay their benefits.

In their statement of claim, the dismissed personnel contended that they were citizens of the country and were fully employed as regular staff of the National Security Council.

They averred that although they lost their jobs due to the change of the political leadership, the current President acknowledged “his appreciation of their dedicated and loyal service to the state.”

According to them, in partial fulfilment of the conditions governing the termination of their appointment, they were each paid three months salary in lieu of notice.

They, therefore, petitioned for the payment of their end of service benefits but that was ignored and letters written by their solicitor did not yield any result.

Therefore, they said, unless the court intervened, the defendants would not heed their demands.

But counsel for the National Security Co-ordinator, contended that the three months salary paid to them represented the “full amount due the plaintiffs in case of disengagement between the National Security Council and them.”

He said they were therefore not entitled to end of service benefits as part of their condition of service.

Court releases Amina on bail

Saturday, November 6, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

After barely a week in police custody, the woman at the centre of the controversial mass bus rape case, Amina Mohammed, was yesterday released on bail by the Accra Human Rights High Court.

The court granted her GH 5,000 bail with a surety, following an appeal filed by her counsel on Wednesday, against her remand by the Accra Circuit Court.

The prosecution did not oppose the appeal except to raise a preliminary objection which was overruled by the court.

The court presided over by Justice U.P. Dery, described the basis of the prosecution’s objection as unlawful, but the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Gertrude Aikins, has indicated to the court she would appeal against the decision to overrule her objection.

Amina has pleaded not guilty to two counts of “publishing false news with intent to cause fear and alarm,” and “deceiving public officer,” at the Circuit Court, presided over by Mrs. Patience Mills-Tetteh.

The mother of three was invited by the police on October 30, to assist in investigations into her comments on a private radio station that male passengers on board a Tamale-bound bus on which she was travelling, were forced by armed robbers to rape the female passengers.

She was detained by the police until Tuesday, when the charges were preferred against her and she was put before court to be remanded.

Her remand followed the prosecution’s plea that granting her bail would compromise investigations into the case. It was also to ensure her own protection.

But Amina’s remand by the Circuit Court was described by her counsel as “wrong” and a “miscarriage of justice” because the offence was a misdemeanour.

When the case was called for the appeal to be moved, Ms. Aikins raised a preliminary objection that she had been short served and not given either the three or 21 clear days needed to respond to the appeal under the law.

She wondered whether the applicants were coming under the Civil Procedure Code or Article 33 of the constitution, adding “as we stand here we had less than 24 hours to be here”

But responding, Mr. Andy Appiah-Kubi, counsel for Amina said the application was not procedurally civil, adding that they were coming under the criminal procedure code, indicating that Order 67 Rule 4 does not apply.

The court thus overruled the objection and upheld Mr. Appiah-Kubi’s submission.

Moving his application for bail, Mr. Appiah-Kubi argued that per the information published by his client, she is an informant to the police.

He said the human rights of Amina under Article 14 (3) were abused by the police, having been detained by the police for 72 hours before she was put before court.

He contended that although the police invited her to assist in investigations, they later detained her without making it known to her, her offence and her right to be silent as well as her right to counsel.

“She has unlawfully been treated by the state and my lord, you have the power to protect her under the law,” Mr.Appiah-Kubi submitted.

He said evidence by the police nowhere suggested that Amina was part of the crime, adding, “she is a victim of the same crime”.

He told the court that Amina’s health was fast deteriorating, citing the fact that she was detained at the hospital for some time while she was in police, custody.

Mr.Appiah-Kubi said it was the first time that his client had been before any court and had no record of having committed a crime or jumped bail, adding she had a fixed abode and would always present herself for trial.

He said his client has no capacity to influence the machinery of the state neither does have the contacts of the prosecution witnesses nor live with them in the same vicinity.

Responding, Mrs. Aikins conceded that although Amina was arrested on the evening of October 30, she could not be arraigned because no court sat on weekends

She said the prosecution asked for her remand because of her own safety and protection noting that the tension at the time was so high that nobody knew what would have happened to her if she was granted bail.

She said “if counsel wants bail for her we don’t have anything to do with that”.

The prosecution said Amina, who lives at Ashaiman was hosted on Adom FM, a private radio station during which she said armed robbers attacked the bus on which she was travelling on October 11, at Kintampo, and forced the male passengers at gunpoint to rape the female passengers.

She said a man was also forced to defile his 14-year old daughter.

The comment, according to the prosecution, was subsequently carried by various newspapers and other radio stations, causing massive fear and panic among the public.

However, investigations had revealed that there was only an attempted armed robbery case reported at the Ejisu police station on October 12, on a Yutong bus with registration number GN 263-10.

The prosecution said the driver’s statement indicated that when they got to Kubease, near Ejisu, in the Ashanti Region at about 10: pm the robbers had formed a blockade on the road but he drove through it.

The armed robbers fired at the bus smashing the back windscreen, but the driver managed to report to the police after which the passengers continued their journey and arrived at their various destinations safely.

POTAG Rebuts NLC Claim

Friday, November 5,2010

By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) has told the Accra High Court that it is the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) which has “flatly refused” to enter into compulsory arbitration with them to resolve their terms and conditions of service.

In a rebuttal to the National Labour Commission’s (NLC) claimed that it had refused to enter into compulsory arbitration with the FWSC, POTAG told the court it had always been ready for the arbitration process.

“The impression we get by the application is that the NLC is asking POTAG to clap with one hand,” Sampson Obeng, counsel for POTAG said yesterday in court when he argued for the application to be declined.

According to him, the FWSC indicated to POTAG in a meeting on Wednesday that it could not enter into arbitration with them for any negotiations on their terms and condition of service because negotiations were closed.

The NLC initiated a legal action against POTAG for refusing to comply with the commission's October 15, 2010 directive to POTAG to enter into compulsory arbitration to resolve their terms and conditions of service which expired since 2006.

POTAG in a letter to the NLC dated August 25 raised issues with the suspension of the migration of the polytechnic staff to the Integrated Payroll Database 2 (IPPD 2) of the Controller and Accountant's Department, and discussion of unresolved issues in their conditions of service, which expired in 2006.

The NLC thus invited the FWSC and POTAG for a hearing on the issues raised by POTAG at which it directed the FWSC to meet POTAG to address the concerns of the teachers and thereafter report to the Commission.

However POTAG in a letter dated October 16, 2010, registered its protest against the NLC’s directive and questioned why POTAG should return to the classroom and at the same time be directed to go for arbitration.

The NLC thus filed an application praying the Industrial and Labour Division of the High Court to order the striking teachers submit themselves to compulsory arbitration with the FWSC, as well as call of their illegal strike.

Meanwhile the court presided over by Justice Kwabena Asuman-Adu, yesterday fixed November 12 to rule on the matter. This was after the two parties concluded their argument to buttress their case.

Moving the motion for an application for an order to compel POTAG to comply with the NLC directive, counsel for NLC, C.S. Sackey, said instead of complying with the order, POTAG decided to go on an illegal strike action.

He said POTAG should have seen the directive as a welcoming one to address the issues of their terms and condition of service which have not been attended to, describing the order as “something like a silver platter that was given them”.

According to him, POTAG and FWSC were given three days within which to notify the commission whether or not they agreed to the unresolved issues.

However, he said, POTAG in the letter dated October 16, 2010, registered its protest against the commission's directive and questioned why they should return to the classroom and at the same time be directed to go for arbitration.

Mr. Sackey said POTAG subsequently refused to enter into compulsory and embarked on an illegal strike action, thus prompting NLC to invoke section 172 of the Labour Act to seek an order compelling them to comply with the directive.

But counsel for POTAG, Mr. Obeng urged the court to dismiss the NLC application, indicating that it had at all material time been ready for the compulsory arbitration just but the FWSC has been unwilling.

He told the court that POTAG found as shocking, FWSC indication that it could not open negotiations with them, adding “we are not the people unwilling to negotiate but the FWSC”.

Pastor's Murder Trial...Police awaits autopsy

Wednesday November 03, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The police say they are awaiting the autopsy report on the murdered British/American missionary to enable them to prepare a bill of indictment for the committal of the three persons being held in connection with the murder.

Assistant Superintendent of Police, Cletus Abadamlora, told the Accra Magistrate’s Court yesterday, that they had not been able to put together the bill of indictment because the autopsy report has still not been issued by the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

He said “the report is expected to be ready in two weeks” and therefore requested for an adjournment which the court, presided over by Mr. Samuel Kofi Ahiabor, agreed to and adjourned the case to November 16.

The three persons, Kofi Seidu, a driver; Goodwill Padmore, a pastor; and Issaka Mohammed, a mason are facing charges of conspiracy to murder and murder. Their plea has not been taken.

The prosecution’s case is that the missionary, Reverend Sidney Thomas Barnes, 75, arrived in the country in 1995, and established a Christian ministry, known as Cross Road Christian Missionary Incorporated, in Koforidua.

Beside the missionary work, he also had a farm at Akwamu, near Nsawam, which was being managed by Seidu, and a private secretarial institution, Prestige Secretarial and Business Academy at Koforidua, with Padmore as the principal.

On December 27, last year, ASP Abadamlora said Rev. Barnes went to the USA and was to return to Ghana on March 18, this year.

On March 17, Padmore gave Seidu money to repair Rev. Barnes’ vehicle so that they could use it to convey him from the Airport in Accra to Koforidua the following day.

ASP Abadamlora said on March 18, Seidu after collecting GH¢50 for fuel, left early in the morning to "do some rounds" before picking up their employer in the evening.

At about 11.30 pm, ASP Abadamlora said Seidu called Padmore on phone, saying that Rev Barnes had not arrived, so he had driven the vehicle to Nsawam-Adoagyiri.

The prosecutor said on March 19, a witness in the case detected that Seidu had sustained some injuries on both hands and when he was questioned, he told the witness that he and a white friend were involved in an accident in Koforidua.

He said the said white friend was receiving treatment at the Saint Joseph's Hospital in Koforidua.

The prosecutor said Seidu also went to a chemical shop for anti-tetanus injection and was asked to purchase the drugs, but he did not return.

ASP Abadamlora said Seidu also presented a laptop to a witness in the case and when it was switched on, the name of Rev. Barnes appeared on the screen.

ASP Abadamlora said that when it became apparent that Rev. Barnes was missing, a report was lodged with INTERPOL and Seidu was arrested and handed over to the Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police for further investigations.

During investigation, Seidu confessed to the crime and mentioned Padmore and Mohammed as his accomplices.

On October 11, Seidu led a team of investigators from the Homicide Unit and pathologists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to Akwamu Amanfo, near Nsawam-Adoagyiri, and pointed out the grave where Rev. Barnes had been buried.

ASP Abadamlora said the body was exhumed and conveyed to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Mortuary, and on October 13, an autopsy was carried out on the body.

AMINA REMANDDED

By Stephen Kwabena Effah

Wednesday, November 3,2010

The woman at the centre of the alleged mass bus rape case, Amina Mohammed, was yesterday afternoon refused bail and remanded by the Accra Circuit Court on her first appearance in court.

But her lawyers say they will today appeal against the decision.

Her three-man defence team led by Andy Appiah-Kubi told journalists moments after court proceedings that the decision by the judge, Mrs. Patience Mills-Tetteh was “wrong”.

Explaining the ground of the appeal, he said , the judge did not assign reasons for her decision to refuse his client bail, adding “this is a miscarriage of justice.”

According to him, he canvassed enough grounds to warrant bail.

Amina, who has been in police custody since October 30, pleaded not guilty to two counts of publishing false news with intent to cause fear and alarm, and deceiving public officer.

The young-looking mother of three was invited by the police to assist in investigations into her comments on an Accra-based radio station that male passengers on board a Tamale-bound bus were forced by armed robbers to rape the female passengers.

Her remand followed the prosecution’s plea that attempts were being made to get the other passengers on board the Yutong bus with registration number GN 263-10, arguing that granting her bail would compromise investigations.

State Attorney Paul Asibi Abariga, said the comment by Amina has caused great fear and panic across the country thus creating a volatile temperature, which compromised her safety.

Although, he said, the case was a misdemeanour, the court should consider the gravity of her comment as well as her own safety.

“All those interested in peace and the safety of the accused are enjoined to ensure that the accused is put to lawful custody where her safety will be guaranteed. In the interest of justice and accused person’s interest, she should be remanded” Mr.Abariga argued.

However, Mr.Appiah-Kubi described Amina’s action as a case of “responsible citizenship outlining a crime she witnessed,” noting that nowhere did Amina say she took part or commissioned the crime to be carried out.

“If anything at all, the accused person has become an informant of the police and must be commended and encouraged,” Mr.Appiah-Kubi told the court.

He condemned the police for keeping Amina in custody beyond the constitutional 48 hours; describe the detention as “constitutionally unwarranted”

Advancing his argument for bail, he told the court that Amina’s three children have since Saturday been orphaned by her illegal detention by the police.

Counsel said his client had been co-operative with the police in their investigations and had no capacity to interfere with investigations.

He said Amina is a responsible mother of three with fixed abode and will at all material times and at the beckon of the court, appear for the matter to be judiciously determined.

The court, however, remanded her in police custody to appear again on November 9.

The prosecution’s said Amina, who lives at Ashaiman was hosted on Adom FM, private radio station on which she said armed robbers attacked a bus on which she was travelling on October 11, at Kintampo and forced the male passengers to rape the female passengers at gun point.

She said a man was also forced to defile her 14-year old daughter.

The comment, according to the prosecution was carried by various newspapers and other radiostations, causing massive fear and panic among the public.

However, investigations so far has revealed that there was only an attempted armed robbery case reported at the Ejisu Police Station on October 12, on a Yutong bus registration number GN 263-10.

The prosecution said according to the driver’s statement, when they got to Kubease near Ejisu in the Ashanti Region at about 10:00 pm the robbers had formed a blockade on the road but he drove through it.

The armed robbers fired at the bus smashing the back windscreen but the driver to report to the police after which the passengers continued their journey and arrived at their various destinations safely.