A Canada-based Ghanaian nuclear engineer Abdul-Samed Seidu has been arrested at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) by security operatives investigating the disappearance of a 31-year-old social worker in Tamale.
He was quickly whisked to the Tamale District Court where a large crowd had been attracted to by the bizarre disappearance story.
The victim, who also bears the same name as the suspect, Abdul-Samed Seidu, is said to be a graduate of the University of Cape Coast who worked with the Regional Advisory Information and Network System (RAINS), a Tamale-based non-governmental organisation (NGO). He accommodated the suspect in his home in Tamale.
Policemen had a hectic time controlling the curious crowd who were yet to come to terms with the mystery disappearance which occurred a month ago.
The magistrate, His Lordship Kakuunaah Amatus Kapouchiened, however, adjourned the case to next Monday. He explained that “this court is only holding the suspect in transit to stand trial at the High Court. He will be given the chance to appeal for bail at the High Court”.
The suspect, who has been in police custody since this arrest about three weeks ago, has pleaded not guilty to the three charges of kidnapping, murder and stealing preferred against him.
An Assistant State Attorney, Mr Salia Abdul-Kudus, who led the prosecution team, said on May 10, last month, the victim, who was a friend of the suspect, welcomed the latter from Canada to his house at the Kalpohini Estates in Tamale, where he lived alone.
He said the two friends lived together for four days, after which the victim could not be traced and a report was made to the police.
The suspect, according to the prosecutor, suddenly abandoned the house and later reported to the police that the victim had stolen ¢30 million belonging to him and that he wanted the police to take action. The suspect, however, failed to pursue the case after that.
Mr Abdul-Kudus said the suspect later moved into a hotel in Tamale but when the police went to look for him there to assist in investigations into the whereabouts of the victim, they were informed that the suspect had checked out for an unknown destination.
The police were later informed that the suspect, who holds a Canadian passport, was in Accra preparing to fly back to Canada.
The court subsequently issued a bench warrant for his arrest, upon which he was accosted at the KIA while going through departure formalities.
The prosecutor disclosed that when the suspect was searched, a digital camera, a laptop, an ipod, a Motorola mobile phone battery, two phone chargers, two pen drives and some documents, all belonging to the victim, were found in his bag.
The suspect, whose lawyer was not present in court, denied the prosecutor's statement that some persons had purchased his ticket and also checked in on his behalf.
He also denied that the suspect deceived the police when he said he was in Tamale when he was actually in Accra.
The suspect, who looked calm, further told the court that all the other charges levelled against him were not true.
As to the allegation that he was trying to run away, he said, “I was not running away; it was only time for me to leave.”
On the whereabouts of the victim, he said, “I did not do anything to harm Samed. I did not kidnap him, I did not murder him.”
The suspect claimed that the victim owed him ¢140 million, for which he allowed him to take possession of the property until such a time that the victim could pay him.
The suspect concluded his submission by intimating, “I believe he is at large of his own free will.”
Story by Zakaria Alhassan