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25.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Release of Arrested Fugitive Raise Eyebrows

By Lens

March 25 (Lens) -- Do you remember Raphael Baffour Awuah, the former employee of the Ghana Free Zones Board who was under investigations by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), but managed to abscond from the premises of the SFO under rather mysterious circumstances?

The Chronicle yesterday reported that this fugitive from justice, who is wanted for his role in the embezzlement of three billion cedis (¢3billion) of the taxpayers' money, was arrested by the Sunyani Police but was released to go under very dubious circumstances.

It would be recalled that this was the case in which the then Minister for Trade and Industry, who later became the Minister for NEPAD and Regional Integration, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku's name featured as a possible accomplice, if not the mastermind.

Following the Chronicle report, The Lens has done a few checks and can confirm that the Police at Sunyani did arrest the said suspect, but he was later released.

While our Police sources in the Brong Ahafo region would not confirm or deny speculations that certain pressures might have been brought to bear on the Police in Sunyani to release the fugitive, one or two of them made knowing references to the case in which a suspect who had been remanded into Prison custody by a court of competent jurisdiction was released on the authority of some politicians without recourse to the law courts.

One thing that those who are speculating that Baffour Awuah's release might have been based on the influence of some highly placed authority point to is the fact that even though Baffour Awuah was widely publicised as being a wanted man, when he was deported from the UK, where he had absconded to, through the Kotoka International Airport no one lifted a finger against him even though deportees are generally detained before being released.

Are there some people who are fearful that once Baffour Awuah comes to trial they could not hope to remain untainted, or even free?

We are still pursuing our enquiries and will make public our findings soon.

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