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Police Robbers Slapped

EMOTIONS RAN high yesterday at an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Justice Mahamadu Iddrissu, when six policemen who were each sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in hard labour, engaged one another in fisticuffs after their conviction.

The convicted policemen exchanged verbal punches as they accused one another of being responsible for their new-found prison homes. The free-for-all fight started with the junior police officers threatening to kill two senior officers, DSP Patrick Kwapong and Chief Inspector Adu, for the roles they played, leading to the conviction.

It took the police about 20 minutes to calm their former colleagues down and restore order after which the convicts were brought out of the courtroom and whisked away into a waiting van to begin their sentences.

Their relatives and loved ones who thronged the court wailed uncontrollably, with some lying prostrate on the ground while others hurled curses on the judge and even wanted to chase him out of the courtroom but for the intervention of his security officer who escorted him into his car.

DSP Patrick Kwapong was found guilty on the charge of conspiracy and sentenced to 20 years. Chief Inspector Thomas Adu, Sgt John Adjapong, Cpl. Lawrence Dennis Quansah, L/CPL Karim Muntari, Constable Benjamin Blejumah, with their four civilian accomplices, Ams Amanor, Kwasi Tawiah, Peter Kwame Gyasi, and Bismark Ampofo, who were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit crime and robbery, were found guilty on all the counts and sentenced to 20 years each on each count, but the sentences were to run concurrently.

The convicts were said to have robbed Kwaku Duah, a Ghanaian-based tourist from Switzerland, of $50,000 and other personal effects, after which they turned to accuse him of dealing in narcotic drugs. Mr. Duah was not in court yesterday when the judge gave his ruling.

In his judgment, Justice Mahamadu Iddrisu observed that all the accused persons were aware that the complainant had come into the country to buy gold with dollars, therefore they monitored his movements, eventually assaulted him and took away his money.

According to the judge, although the junior policemen had stated in their defence that they acted on lawful orders from their superiors, the court noted that the roles they played gave them away.

The court observed that the evidence by DSP Kwapong from the Rapid Deployment Force, Cpl Quansah, L/Cpl Muntari and Constable Blejumah corroborated the story of the complainant which suggested that they acted with a sinister motive.

According to him, although the officers in their evidence had tried to implicate the complainant with narcotic offence, they could not provide any evidence to that effect. The court stated that Chief Inspector Adu’s evidence that he was sent by DSP Kwapong to go and arrest a narcotic dealer, could not be accepted as credible because he gave a different account in his caution statement.

Also, the court observed that the fact that Chief Inspector Adu, Sgt Adjapong and Cpl Quansah went to the Relax Court Hotel at Dzorwulu where the victim was lodging, in their own private car without any station records showing that they undertook such operation, made them guilty of the crime.

The judge agreed with the prosecution that the police acted smartly when they asked Cpl Quansah to take shots of the complainant holding certain parcels and also record the victim saying he dealt in narcotic drugs, just to put fear in him, as they threatened to call in the press.

“What kind of policemen are these; for they are brave and very smart,” the judge rhetorically asked. The judge saw Ams Amanor, a friend of the complainant, to be an unfaithful friend who betrayed the complainant.

Quoting Julius Caesar whose friend Brutus led conspirators to stab him, the judge observed that Ams, for the love of money, betrayed his friend by leaking information to the other conspirators that the victim had arrived in the country from Switzerland with money.

According to him, Ams, when he saw the policemen taking the complainant away, never did anything to help him but was bold enough to tell the hotel manager, George Agbelengo, that nothing bad would happen to the victim and that the police would only beat him and take his money, a statement which came to pass.

With regard to the other three convicts, Kwasi Tawiah, Kwame Gyasi and Bismark Ampofo, the court indicated that they had stated in their defence that they were in the hotel to sell gold but there was no evidence to that effect, as they never supplied the complainant with any gold.

The judge said from the accused persons testimony, it was obvious that they acted various roles in pursuit of the same goal. The judge, who said he took into consideration the fact that the accused persons were first offenders and therefore gave them mild sentences, commended management of Relax Court Hotel for supporting the court to arrive at the truth.

Justice Mahamadu also pleaded with anybody he might have offended in the course of the trial to forgive him. Some counsels for the accused persons had indicated that the sentence was too harsh and probably would appeal against it.

Earlier, Justice Iddrissu read the facts of the case which stated that on February 2, 2009, Ams Amanor together with Jeffery, who was armed with a pistol, Peter Kwame Gyasi, Kwasi Tawiah, Bismark Ampofo and one Nigerian-now at large-went to the hotel under the pretext of transacting the gold business.

The prosecution said prior to this, Amanor, and Ampofo together with the Nigerian, had an arrangement with DSP Kwapong, who instructed Chief Inspector Adu, Sgt Adjapong, Cpl Quansah and a soldier at large, to go to the hotel.

On arrival, they met Blejumah, L/Cpl Karim Muntari, and Constable Acheampong and together, they allegedly stormed the hotel room after forcibly breaking the door and while Jeffery pulled a pistol on the complainant, the other accused persons assaulted him to the extent that he bled from the nose.

They were said to have stolen two envelopes containing $53,000, 800 Euros and GH¢2000 from his pocket and other belongings.

Source: dailyguideghana

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