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Monday, September 26, 2022

Kumasi kidnappers trial nears end

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An Accra High Court has concluded the trial of four persons put before it for allegedly kidnapping two Canadian ladies in Kumasi in 2019 and demanded ransom from their parents.

This followed the discharge of the last accused person who had opened his defence and denied the charges levelled against him by the Office of the Attorney General.

The prosecution during the trial called 11 witnesses – four from Canada, including the victims’ parents and seven other witnesses from Ghana, including the case investigator.

Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, who is presiding over the case, has subsequently ordered the prosecution led by Winnifred Sarpong, a Principal State Attorney and Hilda Craig, a Senior State Attorney, to file their written submission by July 18 while the defence lawyers – Yaw Dankwa and Atsu Abada are to file theirs on July 27, 2022. The court has set July 28 to decide on a date for judgment in the case.

Sampson Aghalor, 27, computer engineer; Elvis Ojiyorwe, 27, businessman, and Jeff Omarsa, 28, tiller – all Nigerians and their Ghanaian counterpart Yussif Yakubu, 28, are before the court charged with conspiracy and kidnaping contrary to the Criminal and Other Offences Act.

An all-Ghanaian security operation led by the National Security in June 2019, rescued the two Canadian ladies who were abducted from the gates of their hostel in a Kumasi suburb two weeks earlier.

The kidnapping of the two ladies sparked public outrage in early June last year, and a National Security operation led to the dramatic release of the two ladies and subsequent arrests of eight suspects on June 11, 2019.

Eight persons were initially arrested but four of them were discharged as the prosecution decided to drop all charges against them after reviewing the investigations.

The accused persons are alleged to have demanded a ransom of $800,000 from the relatives of the victims, and threatened to kill them if the money was not sent to them. They were said to have also touched the ladies inappropriately and threatened to have sex with them.

In a bid to get the parents to pay the ransom, the accused persons smeared the victims with the blood of a fowl, took pictures of them and forwarded them to their parents.

A Forensic Analyst during his testimony told the court that Sampson Aghalor, the mastermind of the kidnap, had mobile conversations regarding a ‘job’ that was supposed to fetch them $800,000; the same amount they demanded from the victims’ parents as ransom.

A forensic analysis of the phone calls of a Vivo mobile belonging to him revealed telephone conversations with one Achu, which highlighted on a $800,000 job which he wanted them to execute.

Detective Sergeant Sylvester Essel, a Forensic Analyst with the Ghana Police Service, who carried out the examination on some mobile phones confiscated, revealed that the suspect then went ahead to tell the said Achu that he had brought his ‘boys’ from Nigeria and was ready to execute the job.

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