Wednesday, November 18, 2009



Drama unfolded at the Accra Circuit Court yesterday when a civilian who had been convicted of conspiracy and robbery with six policemen and four other civilians attempted to vent his spleen on one of the police officers.

Immediately the trial judge, who had sentenced the convicts to a total of 200 years, left the courtroom for his chambers, the civilian, Bismark Ampofo, turned to the most senior police officer among the convicts, Deputy Superintendent of Police Patrick Kwapong, and shouted with venom, “This is conspiracy! This is conspiracy! God will punish you!”

It took court warrant officers, other policemen, prosecutors, among others, to restrain Ampofo from hitting DSP Kwapong, who stood and watched in bewilderment.

Ampofo was eventually hurled out of the courtroom in handcuffs without his grey shirt, which had got torn in his bid to attack DSP Kwapong.

In the melee, another policeman among the convicts, Constable Benjamin Blejumah, also attempted to attack a female journalist, accusing her of endeavouring to take pictures of him.

Some family members of the convicts wailed after sentence had been passed and vented their anger on the judge and journalists outside the courtroom.

They openly cursed and rained unprintable insults on the trial judge, who was escorted to his vehicle by court clerks and policemen.
The convicts were whisked out of the courtroom into a waiting police vehicle to begin their sentences.

Some of them covered their faces with their shirts, newspapers and anything they could lay hands on to stave off the cameras.

The court had sentenced the convicts after it found them guilty of attacking and robbing a Switzerland-based Ghanaian businessman at a hotel in Accra on February 2, 2009.

The convicts are DSP Kwapong of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Inspector Thomas Adu, Sergeant John Agyapong, Corporal Lawrence Dennis Quansah, Lance Corporal Karimu Muntari and Constable Blejumah.

The rest are Aams Amanor, Kwasi Tawiah, Peter Kwame Gyasi and Bismark Ampofo. The convicts, with the exception of Kwapong who was charged with conspiracy, were convicted to 20 years each on each count to run concurrently.

Constable Ken Duodu Acheampong and Jeffrey Kwame Atta, alias Kay, who are currently on the run, were tried in absentia.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Mahamadu Iddrisu, who is now a High Court judge, said the prosecution led overwhelming evidence to prove that the convicts conspired and attacked the complainant, Mr Kwaku Duah, and ended up humiliating and blackmailing him of dealing in narcotic drugs.

He said the prosecution, and even some of the convicts, proved that Mr Duah had been robbed of $53,000, 1,000 euros, GH¢2,000 and other valuable items estimated at $4,000.

He described the policemen as “smart, daring and adventurous” who had let the public and the Police Administration down, adding, “This is a clear case of indiscipline where junior officers go on operations at their own free, will with the connivance of their superior officers.”

“As policemen, you are supposed to combat crime and be the beacon of hope for the citizenry. However, you ended up treating the complainant callously, humiliated him, robbed and blackmailed him in the process,” he added, and asked, “What kind of policemen are these?”

It took the judge more than one and half hours to finish reading the voluminous judgement, in the course of which he cited authorities to buttress his decision.

Touching on each of the convicts, the court held that although DSP Kwapong had indicated in his statement that he had sent policemen to arrest Mr Duah on suspicion of dealing in narcotic drugs, he failed to lead evidence to that effect.

It further held that it was abundantly clear from DSP Kwapong's evidence that Mr Duah had not been under arrest and it was also strange for Kwapong to detail Adu, who was not in DSP Kwapong's unit, to effect the arrest of Mr Duah, especially when DSP Kwapong had told the court that he had 396 men under him.

The judge held that it was clear from the prosecution's evidence that the convicts did not enter their activities at the hotel in the police dairy of action because of the illegal nature of the operation.

According to the court, Adu corroborated Mr Duah's evidence, except where he lied about his role in the operation.

He stated, for instance, that it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that Adu, who was said to have slapped Mr Duah, led men to attack and rob Mr Duah on that fateful day.

Turning to Agyapong, the court held that it was clear that he had driven Adu and Quansah to the hotel where Mr Duah was robbed.

The court said it was also obvious that Quansah posed as a narcotics officer and took pictures of Mr Duah in apparent attempt to blackmail him.

The court held that Muntari and Blejumah provided the missing links in the prosecution's case by stating that there were two groups of policemen, one led by Adu and the other led by Acheampong, on the day of the robbery.

According to the court, it was clear that Muntari and Blejumah acted in consonance with the other convicts to deprive Mr Duah of his money and dignity.

The court described the statements by Aams, Tawiah, Gyasi and Ampofo as “hypocritical” and particularly lashed at Aams for betraying his friend, Mr Duah.

It described Aams’s explanation for locking up Mr Duah in the hotel room on the day of the robbery as “laughable” and indicated that it was unfortunate that Aams could lead people to assault and rob his friend of so many years, only to turn around and hand over his building documents to defray losses incurred by Mr Duah.

The court held that itemised telephone bills proved that there had been communication among the convicts before, during and after the robbery.

The court disagreed with defence counsel's arguments that their clients were obeying lawful command and further indicated that none of the convicts led evidence to prove such a claim, adding that their arguments were “unpersuasive and unconvincing”.

Posted on: Wednesday, 18, November, 2009
Source: Daily Graphic/GBC