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17.05.2004 General News

Trial of Soussoudis begins

By GNA

Accra, May 17, GNA - Trial of Michael Soussoudis, an Economist, began at an Accra Fast Track Court on Monday with the Prosecution calling two witnesses to testify in the case.

Soussoudis has been charged with two counts of possessing explosives, firearms and ammunitions without lawful excuse. He has pleaded not guilty before a seven-member jury of the Court presided over by Mr Justice G. A. Aryeetey.

The Court asked Soussoudis to be on his former bail granted by two lower courts.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Ernest Owusu Donkor, First Prosecution Witness, told the Court that he and his team of Policemen, found a biscuit box with grenades on the roof of Soussoudis house during their first search.

He said the accused was asked to join two Policemen to climb to the rooftop but he claimed he could not do so.

DSP Donkor, led in evidence by Mrs Naa Meley Wood, Chief State Attorney, said: "I and the accused person stood down and watched them retrieve of the said box but accused denied ownership."

DSP Donkor said they also retrieved a large quantity of ammunition; AK 47 rifles, magazines, bag of military kits among other things in the boys' quarters (out house) of the accused.

DSP Donkor said on April 26, 2001 at about 0530 hours, he was instructed by his superiors to obtain a search warrant to search the premises of Soussoudis because he had in his possession ammunition without lawful authority.

He said when he and the team of Policemen went to Soussoudis they introduced themselves and showed him their search warrant. "The accused person introduced us to his wife and houseboys and we proceeded to search his boys' quarters and found a large number of assorted ammunition," DSP Donkor said.

He said they took inventory of the items in the presence of Mr Amponsah Dadzie, one of Soussoudis' Defence Counsel. He said he and his team escorted Soussoudis and the items found in his house to the Police Headquarters, where he was interrogated and detained.

DSP Donkor said on April 27, 2001, a team of Police and Military personnel went to Soussoudis' house for a further search.

He said during the second search, the Police and the Military found two pistols in a drawer and 47 pieces of AK 47 rifles.

The Military team after its work told the Police that the items found were exclusively used by the Military.

DSP Donkor said when Soussoudis was asked why he failed to disclose those items during the first search, he explained that he was then under stress.

In a cross-examination by Mr Chris Opoku, Leader of the Defence Team, DSP Donkor said he was not aware of previous searches conducted on Soussoudis.

He said he was not aware that accused had permits on some of the ammunition.

Detective Sergeant Amidu Immoro, Second Prosecution Witness, corroborated the evidence of DSP Donkor but stated that he did not accompany the team of security personnel on April 27, 2001 to search accused person's house.

In a cross-examination by Defence Counsel, he denied that it was the team of Policemen, who planted the biscuit box containing grenades in Soussoudis' house.

Sergeant Immoro said he was not aware of previous searches conducted in Soussoudis' house.

The case for the Prosecution was that a team of security men acting upon a tip-off searched the premises of Soussoudis at Burma Camp sometime in April 2001.

During the search, a quantity of explosives, military kits and magazines were discovered at the main building and the boys' quarters (out house).

The Prosecution said the security men conducted a further search by using a detector for firearms. Another search was conducted on him and some more weapons were retrieved. During interrogation, Soussoudis could not offer any explanation. The case was adjourned to May 19.

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