4 January 2013

Ghana: Policemen Discharged On Robbery Case - State to Appeal Against Ruling

The Tema High Court, presided over by Justice Mrs. Cecilia Sowa, on Thursday December 20, 2012, acquitted and discharged two policemen and a civilian who allegedly robbed travelers on the Tema-Aflao trans-continental highway, about two years ago. Justice Cecilia Sowa, in her ruling said there was no conspiracy and no robbery.

They are No40463 L/Cpl. Richard Timinka, No41008 L/Cpl. Sabastian Abotsie, all of the Guard Duty Unit at the Police Headquarters in Accra and bodyguards of the former Minister of Information, Zita Okai Koi and Prof. Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of the Council of State respectively. Their civilian accomplice is Mohammed Seidl.

The fact of the case is that on the 10th of April, 2010, one Ali Kilgni of Accra gave to his errand boys Gariba Seidu and Hamza Amadu £77,390, €206,520 and $340 foreign currencies to be sent to one Alhaji Seidu at Aflao, to change them into CFA franc, and bring them back to him in Accra.

Mohammed Seidl and one Sherrif Ali Samory, now at large, who had a hint of the trip to Aflao informed the two policemen, L/Cpl. Sabastian Abotsie who in turn alerted his friend L/Cpl. Richard Timinta.

The two policemen and their civilian counterparts arranged and met at the Tetteh Quarshie shopping mall to trail Gariba Seidu and Hamza Amadu who were then having custody of the said amount of money.

At about 1800 hours, on the same day, when a commercial Urvan mini bus with registration GE 5254 Z, on which the two errand boys were traveling came to pass, L/Cpl. Abotsie in uniform and armed with a pistol and Ali Samory riding as his pillion chased the said vehicle with his unregistered Susuki motorbike.

On reaching Dawhenya, near Prampram, at about 1830 hours, the commercial vehicle was stopped by L/Cpl. Abotsie and Ali Samory.

A lady passenger, said to be with the Ghana Immigration Service, who was on board the vehicle, questioned the identities of the two and L/Cpl. Abotsie reportedly brought out his police identity card to show that he was truly a policeman.

L/Cpl. Abotsie and Ali Samory ordered all the passengers to alight and when they complied, they spotted the errand boys who were later separated from the rest of the passengers.

When they were delaying the passengers, claiming that they've called for a patrol vehicle, another person among the passengers, also believed to be a policeman in mufti, suggested that since they were identified as policemen and claimed that they were sending the suspects to the Police Headquarters, there was no need the passengers continued to wait but should join the vehicle and go.

Moments after, L/Cpl. Timinka, accompanied by Seidl arrived in a Nissan Primera GW 4634 Y, driven by one Bright Nyarko and together, the four gripped Gariba Seidu and handcuffed him from behind with a bag fastened to his back, stuffed with the foreign currencies.

The passenger bus then left and the policemen were forcing Gariba Seidu into the waiting taxi but he, aided by Hamza resisted, and in the process the policemen and their civilian accomplices tore the bag open and took the amount into the taxi, and in the company of Sherrif and Seidl went away leaving behind L/Cpl. Abotsie to follow with the unregistered bike.

As soon as L/Cpl. Abotsie sat on the bike and attempted to move, Gariba, still in handcuffs, sprang onto his back and bit him severely, between the shoulder and the neck, and the two fell with the bike.

Gariba used his knee to pin down L/Cpl. Abotsie to the ground, but the policeman managed to pull his pistol and just then, Gariba shouted for help from Hamza, who was present.

The policeman corked his pistol from the ground and Hamza held his hand to avoid him causing any havoc and as a result he fired until a bullet got locked in the chamber.

When occupants of the get-away taxi realized that L/Cpl. Abotsie was not coming, they returned to the scene and on realizing that their comrade was in difficulty they fired a number of shots to scare them, and Hamza by this time fell into a nearby gravel pit, but was mistaken for dead and so the group took L/Cpl. Abotsie away in the taxi, leaving behind the bike.

Gariba, still in handcuff, managed to reach the nearby Customs check point and was made to kneel as he narrated his story.

Hamza later came out from the pit to the main road and stopped a police patrol vehicle and when he narrated the ordeal, the police picked him and attempted to chase the taxi, but were not successful.

The police patrol vehicle went to the Customs check point and picked Gariba in handcuff and the two were sent to the Tema Regional Police headquarters.

Few minutes after arriving at the headquarters, another patrol team arrested and brought in the two policemen, L/Cpl. Richard Timinka, L/Cpl. Sabastian Abotsie, Mohammed Seidl and Bright Nyarko, the driver of the taxi.

The Report was that the informant, Sherrif Ali Samory, allegedly escaped with the booty and the occupants of the taxi went to report at Tsopoli police barrier that they arrested some armed robbers but the suspects managed to escape.

Meanwhile, latest information gathered by The Chronicle revealed that the state will appeal against the ruling.

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