Koala Shopping Centre robbers jailed 59 years

The Koala convicts leaving the court to begin their prisons jail sentence.Five persons arrested for robbing a staff of Koala Shopping Centre were yesterday convicted and sentenced to a total of 59 years imprisonment in hard labour by an Accra Circuit Court.

The convicts were, Michael Edoe Ahiataku, also known as old soldier, Gilbert Osabutey, also called Obolo, Shop supervisor at Koala Shopping Centre, Frederick Sedro Kwame, a private security guard, with Acasia Building Company, Stanley Obaliko, a Nigerian resident in Ghana and Okoe Quarcoe, an unemployed resident of Bubuashie.

They were charged with four counts, conspiracy to commit crime, to wit robbery, possessing of firearm and ammunition without authority, robbery and causing harm.

On the charge of robbery, the court sentenced Stanley Obaliko and Okoe Quarcoe to 39 and 35 years imprisonment respectively, as well as one year 10 months for unlawful possession of firearms. Sentences are to run concurrently.

The judge, Mr. Aboagye Tandoh, further sentenced four of the convicts, Michael Edoe Ahiataku, Gilbert Osabutey, Stanley Obaliko, and Okoe Quarcoe to 28 years imprisonment each.

However, Federick Sedro Kwame, who was also convicted on the same offence, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

Pronouncing judgment, Mr. Tandoh said that the prosecution had adduced enough evidence to establish the guilt of the accused.

Shortly after the court sentenced the accused, their family members who were in court burst into uncontrollable wailing as the accused were handcuffed and whisked away in a waiting police Nissan pickup vehicle.

Presenting the fact of the case, Chief Supt. Duuti Tuaruka, told the court that the complainant in the case was Lydia Horsu, a Marketing Administrator at Koala Shopping Centre, whose duty it is to go round daily to collect previous day’s sales and send them to the company’s Head Office at Airport.

He said that on January 6, three of the convicts, Ahiataku, Osabutey, Sedro Kwame, hatched a plan to rob the Koala Shopping Centre, and further sought the assistance of two accomplices now at large, who also recruited Obaliko and Quarcoe to carry out the plot.

Chief Supt. Tuaruka revealed that on January 8, at about 8: 00 pm, all the accused met at the Koala Shopping Centre at Cantonment and Gilbert Osabutey, the Shop Supervisor, briefed them about the movement of the complainant and they agreed to rob her the following day.

He said, on January 9, at about 8:oo am, the complainant came to the Koala Shopping Centre , Cantonment branch but had a change of mind and decided to pick only their company’s invoice and voucher and left the Cantonment branch enroute to their Head Office at Airport.

According to the prosecutor the convicts trailed her and Osabutey, upon seeing her leaving, alerted Ahiataku and Sedro Kwame through mobile phone, who also informed Obaliko and Quarcoe, who were by then onboard a blue BMW motorbike close to the shopping centre.

He added that Obaliko and Quarcoe trailed the complainant and caught up with her near the American Embassy at Cantonments and Obaliko who was then sitting behind Quarcoe on the motorbike, alighted and pointed a pistol at the complainant and further ordered her to surrender her handbag.

He said, the complainant initially refused to comply and raised alarm which he said, infuriated Obaliko, who pushed her to the ground and forcibly snatched the handbag from her. Thereafter, Obaliko shot at her twice in her left thigh and calf, after which they sped off.

The prosecutor said, fortunately, a taxi driver who witnessed the incident, chased them with his vehicle and knocked them off their motorbike.

Following this, he said, a report was made to the police, leading to the arrest of all the convicts.

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme        

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