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23.06.2004 General News

Soussoudis firearm possession trial continues

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Accra, June 23, GNA - Prosecution in the case of Michael Soussoudis on Wednesday said it would prefer that the investigator of the case told the Court where one of the missing renewal receipts covering a weapon could be traced.

Mrs Meley Wood, Chief State Attorney, was replying to an order of an Accra Fast Track Court, which asked the Prosecution to furnish it with a missing renewal licence receipt that was not among 42 others.

Prosecution explained that 42 receipts had been written on the docket. Continuing with her evidence, Police Chief Inspector Elizabeth Saim, a firearm-licensing clerk stationed at Cantonments Police Station, said the renewal licence were original.

Chief Inspector Saim said her office renewed permits on a shotgun, double barrel, pistols and revolvers but did not renew licences of AK 47 rifles.

She said only the Police and Military used AK 47 rifles and as such her office did not offer licence on them.

During cross-examination by Soussuoudis Defence Team, Witness said she acted under the authority of the Arms and Ammunition Ordinance to renew Soussousdis's licences.

She said she counted 43 renewal licences and offered them to Soussoudis, who also crosschecked them before he left her office. When asked by Defence whether her office renewed licence on ammunition, witness said one needed a licence before he or she could do that and even "we do not renew licence on ammunition".

When witness was asked how two weapons could bear the same serial number, she said it could be a mistake, which might have emanated from where the weapons were registered at the first instance. Witness admitted that she renewed all the licences and appended her signature to them.

Sergeant Norbert Abotsi, a Soldier of the 48 Engineering Regiment and a fifth Prosecution Witness in his evidence, said on April 27, 2001, he was on duty and was selected to go to the Police Headquarters with others.

When they got there the team led by Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Gbenu informed them that they were going to search Soussoudis' house together with Policemen.

He said at the house, the personnel were divided into two groups and each group searched two apartments.

Sergeant Abotsi said they used arms detector during the search but his team found nothing in the house.

In a cross-examination by Defence, Witness denied that in his statements to the Police he said his team found ammunition in Soussoudis house.

Asked how he appended his signature to his statement, Witness said, "then the one who took and read my statement did not hear what I told him".

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 and found a quantity of explosives. Military kits and magazines were discovered at the main building and the boys' quarters (outer 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. He has pleaded not guilty before a seven-member jury of the Court presided over Mr Justice G. A. Aryeetey to two counts of possession of firearms and ammunition without authority. He is currently on bail.

The case was adjourned to July 7.