The Accra Circuit Court “One” yesterday remanded the two police officers who allegedly robbed a taxi driver at Kaneshie, in the Greater Accra Region, into police custody.
Also remanded were civilians who were in the dock with the security personnel for dishonestly receiving stolen property from the security men.
Meanwhile, the police have mounted an intensive search for Erasmus Adama Nketia also known as Alhaji, a national Security person at the Flag-Staff House and Agyekum Ntim Gyakari who are at large.
The accused, General Corporal Bismark Ntim also known as Striker, General Lance Corporal Francis Opoku Gyau, Michael Adjei Donkor also known as Abrafi, Nana Ntim Gyakari also called Nana Okyere, George Eshun and Urey Harris Koufi, pleaded not guilty to the charge of robbery and dishonestly receiving, preferred against them.
Though the judge, Mr. Aboagye Tandoh appreciated the splendid submissions made by Dr. Kwaku Nsiah and Mr. Andrew K. Vortia, counsel for the accused, with regard to granting of bail to their clients, he (judge) said that, it was premature to do so because the police had not concluded their investigations.
He told the investigators to speed up their investigations because people’s freedom was at stake.
Narrating the facts, to the court, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kwaku Bempah said that Mr. Benjamin Abonyi whose taxi was robbed, plied his trade at Agona Swedru in the Central Region, while Bismark Ntim and Francis Opoku Gyau were policemen at the Accra Regional Special Weapon and Training (SWAT) Unit.
He said that the third accused, Adama Nketia (at large) was a National Security person stationed at the Flag Staff House, while Michael Donkor (4th accused), Nana Ntim Gyakari (5th accused), Agyekum Ntim Gyakari (7th accused and at large) and Urey Harrris Koufi (6th accused), a Social worker, and businessmen residing at Cape Coast.
The prosecutor said that on July 15, 2016, at about 4:30 pm, Michael Donkor, who is also a driver and lived at Teshie hired the complainant, Benjamin Abonyi, who was then driving round in his Kia Picanto taxi, with registration number GW 7087-15 from Agona Swedru to Accra, at a fee of GH¢180.00.
He said that when they arrived in Accra, at about 8:30 pm, Donkor asked Benjamin to drive to the Cocoa Clinic at Kaneshie for his boss, Adama Nketia of National Security (3rd accused) to pay the fare.
DSP Bempah said that at the Cocoa Clinic, all the three security personnel (ie 1st 2nd and 3rd accused) arrived in a private Nissan Almera car, with unknown registration number, and instructed the complainant who was with Donkor (4th accused) to park the taxi they brought from Swedru and join them in the Nissan Almera.
The prosecutor said that, they (accused) drove to Awudome Roundabout and withdrew GH¢600.00 from an MTN Mobile Money Vendor, but failed to pay the taxi driver and on their way back to the Cocoa Clinic, Ntim and Gyau who are policemen, handcuffed Benjamin(compliant) and Donkor (4th accused) who hired the taxi driver from Agona Swedru to Accra, for allegedly committing traffic offence.
The two policemen forced the taxi driver to lie in the back seat and they sat on him after they (policemen) had collected his (complainant’s) mobile phone and ignition key.
Adama Nketia and Donkor alighted from the Nissan Almera where the complainant had parked his taxi and drove it away, but he managed to get back to Kaneshie with the help of a good Samaritan and reported the case to the police.
On August 2, 2016, however, the accused employed the same trick and succeeded in robbing another taxi driver at Kaneshie Industrial Area, but intensive investigations led to the arrest of Donkor who admitted the offence and mentioned the other of accomplices.
DSP Bempa told the court that further investigations culminated in the arrest of Nana Ntim Gyakari, George Eshun and Harris Koufi at Cape Coast as people who received the stolen cars.
He said that seven different cars namely, Nissan Versa, Nissan Almera, Mitsubishi Carisma, Hyundai Atos, Daewoo Carlos, Kia Picanto and Mazda Demio all bearing fake number plates including the Kia Picanto taxi with registration number GW 7087-16 and Nissan Versa with registration number AS 2954-16 which were snatched earlier at Kaneshie, were retrieved.
The accused, according to the prosecutor, took the cars they had robbed from their owners to a spraying shop, changed the original colours and proceeded to the Vehicle and Licensing Department (VELD) to acquire new number plates through dubious means.
The case has been adjourned to September 1, 2016, for continuation.
By Castro Zangina-Tong