The fourth prosecution witness in the Takoradi girls kidnapping and murder case, Emmanuel Anzah Cobbinah, grandfather of Ruth Abakah, one of the victims, told a Sekondi High Court yesterday that he once received a telephone call from an alleged kidnapper.
According to him, the suspected kidnapper who spoke to him in a Nigerian accent demanded a ransom.
He said the kidnapper told him, “Oga, if you don't pay the money we will sell your daughter because kidnapping is our business.”
This was during cross-examination after the prosecution, led by Chief State Attorney Patience Klinogo, produced the witness' statement and was read in the court.
In the statement, the fourth prosecution witness had alleged that someone who claimed to have kidnapped his granddaughter spoke with a Nigerian accent.
The Counsel for the alleged Nigerian kidnappers, Mark Bosia, from the Legal Aid Board, then asked the witness to give a unique feature of the accent that he claimed was that of a Nigerian.
The witness responded, “He told me, 'Oga, kidnapping is our business'.”
Mr. Cobbinah mentioned in his witness statement that the victim's mother, Cecilia Owusu, also called Esi Ayisa, who lived at Nsuaem, is his daughter and that the victim was his granddaughter.
He said when the father of Ruth Abakah passed away Ruth was only three years, and she was taken to Daboase where she lived briefly with her sister and later came to live with him (grandfather) and his wife at Diabene, near Takoradi.
He said Ruth lived with them together with other siblings for close to 16 years and was a Sunday school teacher of the Methodist Church Ghana, Diabene Society, until she went missing.
He said on Sunday, July 29, 2018, Ruth went to church with her other siblings, but she did not return home and the witness added that afterwards, he reported to the police at Kojokrom and then moved to Takoradi police station.
He said the same day, he received a call from a lady who told him thatthe granddaughter she was looking for was with them and that they had kidnapped her and she would only be released after a ransom of GH¢30,000 had been paid.
He said as soon as the caller hanged up, he went back to the police at both Kojokrom and Takoradi to report the incident and then gave them the number that was used to call him.
“The investigators also called that number and tried to negotiate with the kidnappers who later agreed to take GH¢300,” the witness indicated.
“The kidnappers then told us to wait at Fijai Junction the next day and that they would meet us with Ruth. We waited from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. but to no avail,” he recounted.
He said “We called again and they told us to move to Kojokrom Junction. We went there and waited up to 7:30 p.m. still no sign of them or my granddaughter.”
He added “we later decided to know whose number it was by transferring an amount of GH¢5 to that number and the transaction confirmed the recipient as Josephine Dadzie.”
He said the first person who called was a lady; however, the subsequent ones came from a male who spoke broken Twi and English with a Nigerian accent.
He said based on the complaint he lodged with the police he was later contacted when the police made a discovery at the uncompleted building at Nkroful, the same place where the prime suspect in the three missing girls' case, Samuel Udoetuk-Wills, was rearrested.
He said later samples of his daughter and the mother of the victim, Cecilia Owusu, and one of the victim's siblings, were taken for the DNA test.
He said later the Inspector General of Police organized a press conference in Accra and announced that the test conducted indicated that the skeletal remains belonged to the missing girls, including my granddaughter.
“I was not happy at the manner in which the results were declared and made it known to the IGP when he invited us to his office in October 2019,” he said.
Mr Bosia asked the witness, “You said the first person to call you was a lady?” Mr Cobbinah answered in the affirmative and explained that the one who called told him that they were with his granddaughter.
He again asked the witness, “You said the name used to register the number you sent the five cedis to was Josephine Dadzie” and Mr Cobbinah answered 'yes'.
He said “so don't you think that the lady who called you might be the Josephine Dadzie whose name popped up on the phone?” and the witness answered that he could not tell.
Mr Cobbinah said he talked to the alleged male kidnapper for about five minutes.
The lawyer asked, “So the accent you heard was only when a Nigeria is speaking the English language,” and the witness answered in the affirmative.
Sitting continues on Monday, September 7.