General News of Friday, 18 January 2013
The Osu District Court on Thursday began the extradition process of Justin Katinan, an ally of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo currently in the country.
Katinan, a former Budget Minister, is now facing 20 counts of conspiracy to rob and robbery. His plea was not taken by the court presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh.
Prosecuting, Mr Matthew Amponsah, Chief State Attorney, indicated that he intended calling only one witness who was the investigator.
The extradition process was suspended after the court had drawn prosecution’s attention to the fact that there was the need for the state to attach the corresponding legislation of both Ghana and Ivory Coast in relation to the charges preferred against the accused person.
It further noted that the prosecution had not served the defence team with all the necessary documents on the extradition process because prosecution claimed it did not have any communication between them and the defence team, and so were unable to locate the premises of the defence team.
It therefore ordered prosecution to furnish the defence with all documents including the corresponding legislation in Ivory Coast. The corresponding legislation should also be made available to the court.
That, according to the court, would enable the defence team to prepare and build their defence in respect of the charges brought against the accused person.
The matter was therefore adjourned to January 29 so the court could continue with the extradition process.
Earlier, the court noted that it was relevant for the accused person to know the various legislations under which he was charged, adding that the alleged offences were not committed in Ghana.
According to the court it would therefore have to ascertain whether or not the trial was not politically motivated, whether or not the various treaties allowed Ghana to send the accused person to stand trial and whether or not the offences committed were recognised by the laws of Ghana.
In the case of the investigator, the court noted that the case investigator would have to establish links to the facts and charges leveled against the accused person.
Mr Patrick Sorgbojor, Counsel for Katinan, told the court that he had just been served in the court room today and prayed the court to order prosecution to furnish them with all the necessary documents.
The state on December 18, 2012 filed the documents on the extradition process in court.
Katinan is before the Osu District court following charges of robbery preferred against him but was granted a GHc50,000.00 bail.
However, on October 1, last year, he was brought before an Accra Magistrates’ court charged with conspiracy to murder and two counts of murder but he was discharged by the court.
Katinan was said to have conspired with one Dalo Desire in Cote d’Ivoire to murder two men at Port Bouet in the Ivorian city of Abidjan.
According to the report, the first murder of a 33-year-old welder, Kamagate Seydou, took place on March 19, 2011 while the second one, of Diabate Drissa, 37, a trader, also took place on March 29, 2011, both at Port Bouet.
The state said on March 19, 2011, Katinan conspired with Desire to murder Seydou in Port Boute in Abidjan.
According to the state, Katinan and Desire on March 29, 2011 also attacked and murdered Drissa. A complainant, known as Kamgate Bakary, reported the incident to the Ivorian authorities.
On September 29, this year, Ivorian authorities issued a warrant in respect of Katinan and informed the Ghanaian authorities that he was in Ghana and demanded his arrest.