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02.10.2008 Crime & Punishment

Police battles police: 'Deviant' officers before court

By The Statesman

In recent times, the Ghana Police Service has come under serious criticism from the general public for the manner in which some of its officers go about performing their duties. To restore the faith of the public in them, the 'men in black' seem to have taken the fight headlong, and have started prosecuting officers found on the wrong side of the law.

Yesterday, an Accra Circuit Court remanded into prison custody two policemen charged with robbery-related offences. This is the second time the same court is sitting on a similar case.

On Monday, Corporal Emmanuel Mawuli Awadzie and Corporal Solomon Awudu, stationed at Adenta and Madina Police stations respectively, were remanded in prison custody by the same court to reappear on October 11.

They were alleged to have threatened and assaulted one Sylvester Osei Gyamfi to rob him of an amount of GH¢25,000.00.  They have been charged with two counts of offences including conspiracy to rob and robbery. Corporal Mawuli Awadzie is on a UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and returned recently to Accra. They both pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against them.

In yesterday's case, Joseph Frimpong and Frank Boakye, both police constables stationed at Airport Police Station, were also alleged to have robbed one Aziz Abdul of a cargo truck loaded with bicycles and motor spare parts valued at GH¢120,000.00.

The facts of the case are that on August 14, six persons, including the two policemen enlisting the help of a third person, the elder brother of Joseph Frimpong, stopped Aziz Abdul and his two mates driving the cargo truck from Tema Harbour to Mali at the Dzorwulu traffic light at about 5:30 p.m.

The two policemen pulled Aziz Abdul, who is the complainant in the case, and his mates out of the truck, into two waiting taxi cabs, and escorted them to the Achimota forest and abandoned them.

The complainant and his mates were able to trace their way back to the Dzorwulu traffic light only to realise that their cargo truck had been driven away. They therefore made a report to the police and also caused a radio announcement to be made on some FM stations.

On August 15, an anonymous caller assisted police to trace the truck, which was abandoned on the Mallam-Kasoa motorway and was recovered. The contents of the truck had been taken away. On September 16, Constables Joseph Frimpong and Frank Boakye were arrested based on intelligence gathered and both admitted the offence.

According to the facts, Joseph Frimpong narrated that on August 14, at about 2:30 p.m., he was on standby duty at Airport Police station when he received a phone call from an unknown man that he should mobilize his men to Dzorwulu for an exercise.

He said that the caller asked him whether he knows one Solomon to which he replied in the affirmative that he is his elder brother. He said the caller told him that it was Solomon who gave out his number.

Joseph Frimpong said his elder brother himself called later on and told him to rush to Dzorwulu with some officers. He said he immediately informed Frank Boakye and both of them proceeded to Dzorwulu and joined three others who were not in police uniform at the traffic light.

He stated that the men briefed them that they were to affect the arrest of a cargo truck loaded with uncustomed goods and seize them from the owners.

Joseph Frimpong said at about 5:30 p.m. the truck arrived at the traffic light and both he and Frank Boakye stopped it. He said they pulled the occupants out and put them in two taxi cabs and escorted them to Achimota forest area where the truck driver and his two mates escaped from them.

According to Joseph Frimpong, they drove the truck to Darkuman Alafia, a suburb of Accra where they discharged the goods into an uncompleted house.

The two policemen denied knowing both the three civilians who took part in the operation with them and the whereabouts of the goods. Joseph Frimpong stated that one of the civilians gave them GH¢80.00 to share amongst themselves. This narration was also confirmed by Frank Boakye.