The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ashaiman District Police and the Tema Regional Police Command have mounted a search for a Lebanese businessman said to have been kidnapped by three gunmen on the Tema Motorway late last week.
The police have, in the meantime, arrested and detained Joseph Nyarko, 28, a driver of La in Accra, who was driving the businessman from Tema to Accra in an Opel Kadett taxi cab, with registration number GR 8035 P, when the incident happened.
This comes in the wake of another incident in which an Israeli businessman who arrived in Accra on Sunday, October 19, was reportedly kidnapped, for which two suspects are being held by the police in Accra.
In the later incident, the police said the kidnappers were demanding a ransom for the release of the Lebanese but declined to identify those who had been contacted for the ransom and the amount the kidnappers were demanding, except to say that it was substantial.
From separate interviews with the Tema Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police John Kudalor, and the Public Affairs Officer of the Regional Police Command, Inspector Olivier Turkson, the Daily Graphic gathered that the businessman had hired the taxi cab in Tema around 9.30 p.m. on October 21 and requested to be driven to Accra.
Around 10.00 p.m., Nyarko turned up at the Ashaiman Police Station and reported to the police officers on duty that on the way to Accra his vehicle had developed a mechanical fault and he had stopped.
The suspect continued that the moment he stopped, three gun-toting men emerged from a bush and attacked him and the businessman. Nyarko claimed that he managed to escape and walked all the way to the Ashaiman Police Station to report the attack.
Inspector Turkson said the Ashaiman Police contacted night patrol teams on duty and asked them to rush to the scene. When a patrol team got to the scene, the taxi cab and the Lebanese businessman had literally vanished, she said.
“We wonder how the cab could have been driven away, since the suspect had claimed that the cab had broken down on the Motorway,” she noted.
Inspector Turkson said the police, therefore, arrested Nyarko but later granted him bail.
DCOP Kudalor told the Daily Graphic that he later ordered the re-arrest and detention of Nyarko because there were many questions he had not given satisfactory answers to.
The police say they are investigating the possibility that the taxi driver had conspired with the gunmen to kidnap the businessman.
DCOP Kudalor said his command had issued warnings through the media to the public to take precautions when seeking to board or hire taxis late at night because of the increasing incidence of nocturnal crime.
He urged the public to take the warning seriously for their own safety.
When some taxi drivers were interviewed randomly about their operations at night, some of them said they had stopped operating late at night because of an apparent decline in the patronage of their services after dark.
Others said they had stopped operating after dark because most cases of cab snatching and attacks on taxi drivers by criminals occurred mostly after dark.
Story by George Sydney Abugri.