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25.08.2004 Crime & Punishment

Accomplices admitted receiving electoral slips from Nii Lante -

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Accra, Aug. 25, GNA - Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ransford Larbi Biney on Wednesday told a Circuit Court in Accra that Nii Lantey Vanderpuye's accomplices in their statements to the Police stated that they received electoral slips from him to be given to Prosecution Witnesses.

He said Musah Fuseini, one of the accused persons, further stated that Nii Lantey, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate for Odododiodoo Constituency in the Accra Metropolis, consulted him to recruit some men to take photographs during the Electoral Commission's photo taking exercise. Fuseini, therefore, consulted Gariba Mohammed, another accused person, with whom they succeeded in recruiting 10 persons for the exercise.

The investigator was testifying in the case in which Nii Lantey, a Broadcast Journalist and Fuseini Musah, also known as Alhaji Musah and Gariba Mohammed are being held for electoral malpractice.

Nii Lantey has pleaded not guilty to abetment of crime.

His accomplices, Fuseini and Mohammed, who are also charged for registering voters without authority, have also pleaded not guilty. They are on 30 million cedis bail each.

ASP Biney told the court that after Fuseini and Mohammed had recruited the people, they all proceeded to the house of Nii Lantey in Accra.

Mr Biney said Fuseini and Mohammed further confirmed that Nii Lantey offered a T-shirt to one of the witnesses when they were about to go to take their photographs.

Fuseini and Mohammed whose statements were taken in the presence of independent witnesses and Lawyers also stated that Nii Lantey gave them 100,000 cedis, some soft drinks and asked them of visits them every month, the Investigator said.

Mr Biney said when Mohammed enquired about the dangers of their acts, Nii Lantey told them that he had worked out everything with the polling officers and that they were safe.

In the case of Nii Lantey, the Investigator said he denied knowing the Fuseini and Mohammed. He claimed he only got to know them at the Police Criminal Investigations Department at the Police Headquarters. The Investigator said Nii Lantey also denied abetting with Fuseini and Mohammed to commit any crime.

ASP Biney said following a tip-off, the Police went to the House of Nii Lantey to arrest him and demanded all voter identity cards in his custody.

ASP Biney, who was among the team of Policemen who went to Nii Lantey's house, said they found passports of boxers and six voter' ID cards belonging to the Nii Lantey's spouse, adopted daughter, mother and siblings.

Mr Biney said Nii Lantey denied giving any T-Shirt to the accused but acknowledged that the said T-shirt belonged to him.

Nii Lantey explained that the T-shirt and underwear were stolen from his drying line two months ago but did not report the incident to the Police because it was a minor issue.

During a cross-examination by Mr Okaijah Adamafio, ASP Biney told the Court that on July 24, an electoral fraud case was referred to him for investigations.

ASP Biney denied that he did not conduct thorough investigations and was in haste to bring the matter to court.

He disagreed with Counsel that he used a professional independent witness when he was obtaining statements from the accused persons.