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16.04.2007 General News

Cocaine convict flees Nsawam Prison

By myjoyonline

A Nigerian serving a 10-year jail sentence, Martin Isi Obuehi, has broken jail and is on the wanted list of the Ghana Prisons Service.

The Enquirer newspaper reports that Obuehi, who has served only five months of his 10-year sentence took advantage of the lapses in the prisons security system and absconded.

The Enquirer said on the day of the escape, the Assistant Chief Officer sat under a mango tree idling, the Corporal who had the gun was also busy helping himself with a significant quantity of local gin (Akpeteshie).

The newspaper alleged that the Nigerian convict was allegedly aided by two prison officers, Assistant Chief Officer Emmanuel Obeng and Corporal Mark Sintim, at the Nsawam Prison in the Eastern region, to flee last week Tuesday.

The Ghana Prisons Service high command is currently investigating circumstances surrounding the escape of Obuehi, who has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for narcotic drug trafficking.

The Enquirer said its sources at the Prisons Service said the escapee was among a group of convicted drug lords and other criminals who had been sent to the Nsawam Government Hospital to seek medical treatment that day.

While at the hospital waiting for the medical personnel, the Nigerian sought permission to attend nature's call, and was escorted by Asst. Chief Officer Obeng, who stood at the gate of the toilet facility, and monitored the convict closely till he finished.

Not long after coming out of the toilet, Obuehi sought another permission to empty his bowels again, but instead of escorting the convict to the toilet facility, Asst. Chief Officer Obeng rather sat under a mango tree at the premises of the hospital, waiting for the convict till he was prompted by another prison officer, Lance Corporal Afful, that the Nigerian had kept too long.

Upon entering the toilet, Obuehi was nowhere to be found. An alarm was raised, but a thorough check at every nook and cranny of the hospital yielded no sign of the drug convict.

All this while, Corporal Mark Sintim who was said to be part of the team of five prison officers led by Asst. Chief Officer Norvihoho, escorting the six convicts, had long left helping himself with a significant quantity of local Gin (akpeteshie) instead of following Obeng and Obuehi because he was the officer carrying a gun.

A report was quickly relayed to the Regional Commander of Prisons, Mr. Domi, who immediately dispatched some officers to look for the convict in the outskirts of Nsawam, but their efforts were fruitless.

The Enquirer learnt that the Prisons Headquarters in Accra, was also informed about the incident, and it ordered that Asst. Chief Officer Obeng and Corporal Mark Sintim be detained by Nsawam Police while a team is sent to investigate the matter.

The two were, however, released the following day by the Nsawam police after the 48-hour mandatory period.

Meanwhile, The Enquirer has picked murmurings within the prison facility that the escape might have been well planned and executed, particularly by Asst. Chief Officer Obeng, because there was close links between him and the convict.

Apart from Asst. Chief Officer Obeng's wife constant supply of provisions to the convict, the paper also learnt that a day before the escape, the Nigerian was called by Asst. Chief Officer Obeng to the Condemned Cell for a meeting.

Some prison officers at Nsawam who spoke to the paper described the meeting as unusual because apart from people sentenced to death, ordinary prisoners are not allowed into that part of the facility.

Furthermore, it was said that immediately word of Obuehi's escape got to other Nigerians in the prison, they quickly ransacked and even destroyed every property of his, which would have given a clue about the escape. It is said to have taken a hell of time before some of his belongings were retrieved.

Some three years ago, John MaIm, a hardened criminal also escaped in a similar manner from the officers who had taken him to the Nsawam Government Hospital. A big manhunt was mounted for him and he was traced and arrested at a village in neighboring Togo and brought to Ghana.

Culled from the Enquirer

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