An Accra Circuit has remanded into custody seven Nigerians for allegedly trafficking 20 Nigerians into the country and forcibly engaging them in cyber-crime activities.
Their request for bail was refused by the court presided over by Rosemary Baah Tosu who remanded them into the custody of Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to appear again on October 17.
They are facing 24 counts of human trafficking, assault and participating in organised crime but they denied all the charges preferred against them.
Williams Ogbemedia Idemudia also known as chairman suspected to be mastermind the alleged human trafficking syndicate is on the run.
Counsel for the accused, Theophilus Donkor, in his bail application, prayed the court that the right to bail per the Constitution did not discriminate against nationality.
He added that the accused had a fixed place of abode that resulted in their arrest and would be available when needed.
The prosecution led by Abu Issah, Head of Legal and Prosecutions at EOCO, opposed the bail request citing the national magnitude of the matter and the discretion to grant bail should be handled candidly.
In her ruling, Ms Tosu remanded the accused in custody to reappear in two weeks on the basis that they had failed to demonstrate they had a fixed place of abode and also ordered for disclosures to be filed within 21 days.
Narrating the facts, Mr Issah gave the names of the accused as Osas Vincent, Kennedy Anthony, Godson Iyan Inye, Junior Ayala Ariyo, Desmond Johnson, Andrew Gabriel, Ebedebi Ayaye Friday and Williams Ogbemedia Idemudia alias chairman who is on the run.
He told the court that on August 29, this year, EOCO received an email from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Nigeria requesting the intervention of EOCO in the rescue of some Nigerian victims of trafficking who were being exploited for Cyber-crime purposes, as well as possible arrest and prosecution.
That he said, led them to conduct investigation which revealed that the eight accused were part of an organised criminal group, with all the members being Nigerians and further investigation uncovered the syndicate was partly based in Nigeria and in Ghana.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO