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30.08.2005 Crime & Punishment

Court grants 13 people 650 million cedis bail


Kumasi, Aug.30, GNA - Thirteen people who allegedly held the chief of Nyinasenase near Atwima Agogo in the Atwima Nwabiagya district of Ashanti hostage for two days and demanded a ransom of 500 million cedis were on Monday granted 50 million cedis bail each with a surety to be justified by a Kumasi Circuit Court.

They all pleaded not guilty to five counts of threat of harm, assault, causing unlawful damage, stealing and abetment of crime and would re-appear on September 5.

They are Abebrese Boateng and Kofi Yesu, both unemployed, Yaw Badu, Kwaku Tuffour and Kwabena Asare all drivers, Baba Akwasi Amankwaah, plumber, Akwasi Manu, carpenter, Mark Boahene, a driver's mate, Osei Kwadwo, farmer, Nana Kwame Boateng and Frank Boateng, both traders.

Two other accused persons, Twum Barima and Isaac Aboagye are at large.

Police Chief Inspector Kobina Afful told the court presided over by Mr Ernest Yao Obimpeh that sometime last year, Nana Awere Bawuah, chief of Nyinasenase released a portion of land to the Management of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi for the construction of nurses' quarters.

He said 300 plots of land costing about 1.2 billion cedis was released to KATH.

Chief Inspector Afful said, on June 6, this year, the accused persons conspired, armed themselves with deadly weapons and went to Nana Bawuah's palace confronted him and demanded 500 million cedis from the chief as their share in the sale of the land and threatened to kill him if he failed to give them the money.

The prosecution said, the accused persons therefore, took the chief hostage after assaulting him during which he received a cut on his left eyebrow.

He said on the same day, Baba Akwasi Amankwaah, Kwaku Tuffour, Mark Boahene and Kwabena Asare pounced on the chief's brother Akwasi Antwi, assaulted him and tore the smock he wore into pieces.

Chief Inspector Afful said the accused held the chief hostage until the following day when he offered to pay them 40 million cedis but they refused and further threatened to end his life if he persisted in his refusal to pay the 500 million cedis.

The prosecution said there was so much tension in the town that not even the intervention by some elders for the chief's release to enable him contact the Management of KATH for some money to pay the 500 million cedis could convince them to release Nana Bawuah. He said during the tensed situation, Abebrese Boateng, the first accused and leader of the group assaulted the chief's Abusuapanin while Yaw Badu the second accused and Kwaku Tuffour, fifth accused persons assaulted the chief's brother in-law.

Chief Inspector Afful said on the third day June 8, Nana Bawuah managed to escape to Kumasi and reported his ordeal to the police. He said the following day June 9, the accused persons attacked Nana Osei Bonsu, Gyasehene of the town who is blind while relaxing in a chair in his house and lifted him from the chair.

They told Nana Bonsu that they had been sent by the first accused to tie him to a pillar at the palace until he directed them where to locate Nana Bawuah.

The prosecution said the blind Gyaasehene collapsed from shock and sensing danger, the accused persons threw him on the ground and bolted. Chief Inspector Afful said on the same day June 9, the accused persons went on rampage combing the town for Nana Bawuah and found his wife and children.

He said Kwasi Manu fourth accused and Kwaku Tuffour, fifth accused assaulted, Ali Agyapong, son of Nana Bawuah and demanded the keys to his father's room.

The prosecution said in the course of the rampage, the accused persons allegedly stole Nana Bawuah's electric Honda generator and a bag of rice but the police retrieved the generator while the accused persons had consumed the rice.