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22.11.2007 General News

Police grab terrorist

By Gye Nyame Concord

A 48-year-old man, described by the Ghana Police as one of the most notorious terrorists in the country with multiple criminal records involving robberies and killings, has been grabbed by the police during a raid at his hideout at Nsawam in the Eastern Region.

According to the police, Nana Kwame Afum, alias Original Joe Tapolin, has robbed several people at gun point as well as killed and admitted all manner of serious injuries to several others at Ankwa Doblo, a village near Amasarnan in the Greater Accra region.

According to the police, the search for the arrest of Mr Afum followed a petition residents of the area made to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong about the nefarious activities of Joe Tapolin a few weeks ago.

The suspect, who is a self-styled chief of Ankwan Doblo, is alleged to have bribed some paramount chiefs in the area with a special promise of a Hummer vehicle to one particular chief should he be recognised as the chief of Ankwan Doblo, something, which according to sources, is yet to materialise.

Gye Nyame Concord probes have also revealed that Joe Tapolin has registered several different guns, including pump action, pistols and others, using them in his alleged criminal activities.

What perhaps makes him a dangerous entity, according to residents who spoke to this paper, is how he manages to get out of police grips whenever he is apprehended to be processed for court.

At the Community Centre Magistrate Court in Accra on Monday, Joe Tapolin was therefore slapped with five counts of criminal charges involving two counts of conspiracy to commit crime, thus, robbery; two counts of robbery; and one count of attempted murder.

Presenting the facts of the case to the court, the Prosecutor, A.S.P Aidan Dery, told the presiding Judge, Justice Mrs. Olivia Obeng Owusu, that both complainants and the suspect are residents of Ankwan Doblo and that the suspect, Mr Nelson Kwame Afum is a businessman and self-styled Chief of Ankwan Doblo.

He told the court that during the month of May, 2001, the suspect with two others namely; William Okyere alias Mpakadan and Ebenezer Mensah alias Bugeyman, robbed one Nii Komey of his cash and other properties at Ayebi Junction near Doblo.

According to ASP Dery, in October, 2001, the suspect with the intent to kill, pulled his action pump gun, shot and wounded one Isaac Amu at his right rib at Doblo.

He told the court that after shooting the victim the suspect threatened witnesses at the scene to assist him carry his booty or they would face similar fate. The case was later reported to the Nsawam police for investigations.

He said in May, 2007 whilst investigations were going on the suspect and his group were cited in a robbery incident at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region which led to the arrest and subsequent remand of Ebenezer Mensah, alias Bugeyman by the Oda police whiles Mr Afum was declared wanted.

ASP Dery told Justice Mrs. Olivia Obeng Owusu that on the 12 of July this year, the same group of people led by the suspect, again robbed one Ibrahim Nartey of his five million cedis cash and other properties at Adjeiman near Accra which was later, reported to the Amasaman police leading to the arrest of Mpakadan who is currently on remand at Nsawam.

He said after the arrest of William Okyere, it came to light that Joe Tapolin is the architect and supplier of weapons for all their activities.

In a follow up to the story, this reporter gathered that there has been a protracted land dispute over the years between the complainants on the one hand and the suspect, Mr Afum and his cohorts who are mostly landguards on the other.

This then led to frequent clashes and attacks on residents of Ankwan Doblo allegedly engineered on the orders of Joe Tapolin.

At the court, the Prosecutor told the court that fresh evidence gathered indicate that the suspect and his accomplices allegedly killed three persons sometime ago and buried them in an ant-hill close to his palace at Doblo.

He told the court that efforts were underway for the bodies to be exhumed for further investigations to determine the cause of the deaths.

ASP Aidan Dery prayed the court to remand the suspect in police custody for him to assist the police in further investigations into the case.

The court granted the request and adjourned the case till the 3rd of December 2007.