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08.10.2008 Crime & Punishment

Police in manhunt for thieving driver… For diverting 1,000 bags of sugar, abandoning vehicle

By Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

THE KUMASI police, upon the instruction of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), are man-hunting a driver, one Ben, for the diversion of 1,000 bags of sugar belonging to Khawaja Brothers Company Ltd.

The missing bags of sugar have been reported to the Tema Main Harbour District Police Station, the Military Police at Burma Camp, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Inspector General of Police, who have accordingly instructed for the necessary action to be taken.

A Renault 340T articulated truck, with registration GN 384 Y belonging to Lt. Col. Ayisi of Labadi Villas at the Burma Camp in Accra, was used for the deal.

Even though a police wireless message from the Tema Regional Police Crime Officer, Supt. Patrick Timbilla, on August 14, this year, instructed all police stations across the country, to “locate, arrest, impound and inform for the collection of the said Renault 340T truck, which had been used in transporting 1,000 bags of stolen bags of sugar,” it took discreet investigations by Nasiru Abdulai Banda, Transport Officer of Berekum-based Zimbabwe Transport Co. Limited which hired the vehicle, to cart the goods worth GH¢35,000 from CCTC (Ghana) Limited in Tema to Kumasi, to find the vehicle parked in front of Bungalow No. 25 Old Soldierline Barracks (Officers Mess), which is said to be occupied by one Major Boateng, said to be the caretaker of the vehicle.

According to the Nasiru, Khawaja Brothers gave them an order to transport their goods of 1,000 bags of sugar to Kumasi, and hired the Renault truck for the trip on July 14.

The next day the driver claimed that he was at Nkawkaw, on his way to Kumasi, when the owners of the goods complained that they had still not received the goods, he (Nasiru) was alarmed and followed it up, only to realise the driver had diverted the goods.

He said he then traced the ownership of the vehicle to the DVLA, where it was detected that the owner was one Adolph Adjei of H/No 532/2 Afram Road of Asylum Down in Accra, but later sold to Lt. Col. Ayisi.

When he contacted Mrs. Ayisi, wife of Lt. Col. Ayisi, she told him the car was in the care of Major and Mrs. Boateng in Kumasi, and therefore got in touch with her, only to be told the vehicle had been reported missing.

On July 24, this year, Chief Inspector Yeboah and his men, including one Taller of the Sofo Line police station, allegedly brutalised Nasiru Banda when he lodged a complaint with the station.

Nasiru's crime was daring to identify the true owners of the vehicle, and eventually locating the vehicle in Kumasi. The police headquarters is investigating the conduct of Chief Inspect Yeboah and his colleagues in the assault case.

But the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwaku Ayesu Opare Addo, told The Chronicle that he had acted on the IGP's order, and that the police were seriously looking for the driver.

He as well disclosed that after a thorough search by his men, the vehicle was found abandoned at Pankronu near Kumasi without the goods, but said the vehicle had to be handed over to the owner, who happens to be a military officer with documents who claimed ownership.

According to him, he was ordered to arrest the driver and the goods, but not the vehicle. He also said he believed that the driver might have sold the goods in one of the neighbouring countries, and appealed to the general pubic to report any traces of the driver.

The Chronicle can say on authority, that investigations as far as the diversion of the 1,000 bags of sugar involving the vehicle purchased from one Adolph Adjei by Lt. Col. Ayisi at GH¢12,000, has been stalled, since the driver cannot be traced, even though DCOP Opare Addo claims the driver's mate had been arrested.

Mrs. Boateng, wife of the Major Boateng in whose residence the vehicle is currently located, told The Chronicle that the keys of the vehicle were currently in the possession of the Sofoline police.

She said the vehicle was parked at their house, because there was no space at the Sofoline police station, because of on going Kumasi-Sunyani road construction works.

Mrs. Boateng also confided in The Chronicle that they did not know driver Ben until one Oga, a mechanic at the Suame Magazine, recommended him to them for employment. The driver is said to reside at Ehwiaa Overseas, a suburb of Kumasi.

Meanwhile, the Ashanti Regional Police Command is offering GH¢2,000 reward, to anybody whose information would lead to the busting of a car snatching syndicate operating in the Kumasi metropolis, according to a statement issued by the Public Affairs Unit of the Regional Police Headquarters.

Police Inspector Mohammed Tanko, who signed the statement, indicated that the police were alarmed at the missing of five Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks, within a month of the alleged resurfacing of the activities of the robbers, after it had died down for sometime, hence the GH¢2,000 offer to the general public for clues to trace the syndicate.

The registration of the vehicles, said to have been recently stolen by the syndicate, are GV 479 A, GW 5556 Z, GE 5297 Y, GR 7059 Z and GN 2402 Z.