Crime

Kidnapping of Canadian women: 4 granted GH¢800,000 bail each

Four out of the eight persons charged with the alleged kidnapping of two Canadian women in the Ashanti Region have been granted a total of GH¢800,000 bail by an Accra High court.

Accused, Seidu Abubakar, Abdul Nasir, Abdul Rahman Suleman and Safianu Abubakar, have been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping of Bailey Jordan Chitty and Lauren Patricia Catherine Tilley, who were in Ghana for an exchange programme.

Each of the accused have been granted GH¢200,000 bail with two sureties, one of whom must be justified.

As part of the bail condition, Justice George Boadi, the presiding judge, ordered the accused to report at the Kumasi Central police station once every Monday.

The four others who did not have legal representation would remain in Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) custody and appear before a vacation judge on August 12, 2019.

They are Sampson Aghalor, the alleged kingpin, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar, all Nigerians, and Yusif Yakubu, a Ghanaian.

Aghalor, Ojiyorwe, Omarsar and Yakubu, were separately charged with kidnapping.

Mr Andrew Kudzo Vortia, counsel for Seidu and Nasir, told the court that the offence for which his client were charged is bailable and referred to a decision of the Supreme Court in Martin Kpebu vs the Attorney-General in which the judges held bail was at the discretion of the trial judge.

On July 1, 2019, three out of the eight accused, Seidu, Aghalor and Yussif accused the BNI of subjecting them to physical and mental torture.

Ms Hilda Craig, senior state attorney, prosecuting, contended that the claims of torture and abuse by the accused were fabricated to make the BNI look bad.

The facts according to the prosecutor are that, Tilly, 19, and Chitty, 20, were kidnapped on June 4, 2019, moments after they alighted from an Uber cab, at their apartment at Silver Spring in Kumasi, at about 8:20pm.

Ms Craig told the court that Aghalor struck an acquaintance with Yakubu in March, 2019, and that Aghalor went to Nigeria and recruited Ojiyorwe and Omarsar to be part of the gang.

The court heard that the kidnappers smeared the faces of the victims, Chitty and Tilley with blood, ostensibly to create the impression that the women were badly tortured.

The gang took the two women to an uncompleted building at Kenyasi Krobo.

On June 11, a national security team, led by Colonel Michael Opoku, arrested Yusif, who later led them to arrest the gang.

Upon their arrest, the accused mentioned Nasir and Abubakari as part of the gang.

The two Canadian women were rescued after eight days of intensive search by the Ashanti Regional Police Command in collaboration with other security operatives at Akorem in Sawaba, in Kumasi.

The case has been adjourned to October 18, 2019.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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