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07.10.2008 Social News

Police withdraw charges against suspected Ecobank robbers

By The Statesman

The Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, ACP Bright Oduro, has ordered the withdrawal of armed robbery related charges against the three Nigerians suspected to be involved in the June 23 Madina Ecobank robbery and killing of a police guard.

This was disclosed in court yesterday by the police prosecutor ASP Agyemang when the case was called for hearing. He told the court that he has received instructions from his superior to withdraw the charges against the three.

The three accused persons, Daniel Pedro (aka Oghenervena), Festus Suleman and Israel Otubu, are facing two counts of conspiracy and robbery. They first appeared before the court on August 26. Their plea has not been taken and they have since been remanded in police custody.

But not being satisfied with the withdrawal of the charges against his clients, Dela Blagodzie, requested that the order should emanate from the court, so as to prevent the police from re-arresting his clients in the future in relation to the same case.

According to him, he has continuously maintained the innocence of his clients, adding, "The police has nothing against them'.

The court however held that the police through the Attorney-General has the powers to discontinue a case without any explanation.

The judge, Idrissu Mahamadu, at the last adjourned date threatened to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the investigator handling the case. The judge's decision was informed by the inability of the investigator to bring the accused persons to court.

According to the judge, he was at a loss as to why the accused persons should be held at the Police Headquarters for questioning after officials of Ecobank had failed to identify them at two separate identification parades conducted by the police at the Madina Ecobank office and also at the Police Headquarters. 'It is very capricious for the investigator to be holding the accused persons at the Police Headquarters for questioning and not bringing them to court,' he fumed.

The facts of the case are that at about 9 am on June 23, 2008, an Ecobank bullion van, with registration number GT 8371 G, being driven by Emmanuel Abedu under the escort of General Sergeant William Kweku Quansah of the Adabraka Police Station, was scheduled to convey GH¢60,040.00 to the Madina outlet of the bank located at Madina Zongo Junction.

On arrival at the outlet, five armed men who had positioned themselves at different locations within the bank's premises attacked the policeman and another colleague, General Constable David Agbosu, who was on guard duty at the bank simultaneously.

The attackers managed to collect an AK-47 assault rifle with 10 rounds of ammunition from Constable Agbosu and during a scuffle between Sgt Quansah and one of the alleged robbers, a member of the gang in a waiting unregistered Toyota Matrix saloon car approached Sgt Quansah from his blind side and shot him.

Sgt Quansah later died at the University of Ghana Hospital at Legon while the robbers bolted with the money amidst sporadic firing. Two persons, Richard Adu and Christian Asante Djani, who were then in a commercial vehicle, were hit by stray bullets.

The prosecution said immediately after the incident, information was received that some Nigerian nationals living in a house at Nungua had arrived in the house with large sums of money, packed their belongings and left the house. The house was located and the three suspects arrested but when interrogated they denied any involvement in the robbery.

Pedro denied owning a vehicle but when he realised that the police had information regarding a vehicle owned by him, Pedro was said to have confessed that his only vehicle had been taken to Nigeria; the police therefore felt that he was involved in the robbery and needed to be kept for further investigations.