Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Source: Graphic Online
A policeman and two others were yesterday sentenced to a total of 90 years’ imprisonment with hard labour by the Accra Circuit Court for robbing two licensed arms and ammunition dealers in Accra.
The robbers, in separate operations in 2009, attacked the arms dealers, who were also businessmen, and robbed them of large quantities of ammunition and cash.
The convicts — Constable Peter Nogma of the Ghana Police Service, Paul Atiase Agbongbor, a businessman, and Pascal Fella, a computer analyst, were charged with conspiracy to rob and robbery.
They pleaded not guilty and, after a full trial, Nogma was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and 30 years for robbery while Agbongbor was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and 30 years for robbery in the first robbery case which involved only the two of them.
In the second robbery which involved all three convicts, Nogma was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and 30 years for robbery; Agbongbor was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and 30 years for robbery while Fella was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and 30 years for robbery.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Delivering judgement, Mr Francis Obiri said armed robbery was on the increase and had become a national concern.
He said policemen were trained to protect lives and property, but not to rob.
Mr Obiri called on the leadership of the Police Service, as well as the other security agencies, to purge their various institutions of such miscreants to safeguard the peace and security of the people.
Facts of the case
The prosecutor, Mr Ashong Okai, an Assistant State Attorney, told the court that the complainant was a businessman and licenced arms and ammunition dealer at Accra but hailed from Mpraeso-Kwahu.
He said on March 18, 2009, the complainant had in his possession three packets of cartridges; two “AA” packets and one “BB” packet meant for supply.
He said Nogma and Agbongbor all of a sudden intercepted the complainant when he had reached a spot at Okaishie in Accra.
They had in their possession a pair of handcuffs.
The two told the complainant that he and others were responsible for the supply of arms and ammunition to armed robbers in Accra and they (the convicts) had been sent from the Police Headquarters to arrest them.
They handcuffed the complainant, stopped a taxi and forcibly pushed him into it and told him that they were taking him to the Police Headquarters for investigations.
While in the taxi, the convicts demanded GH¢500 from the complainant to set him free but he could not meet their demand.
The convicts then conducted a search on the complainant and found GH¢62 which they took, in addition to the two packets of “AA” and “BB” cartridges, and let him get out of the taxi at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
The complainant then made a report to the police for investigations and action.
On July 7, 2009, a police identification parade was conducted and the two convicts were identified by the complainant.
They were subsequently arraigned.
Facts of second robbery
In the other robbery, Mr Okai said the complainant was a businessman and licensed arms and ammunition dealer from Agona Swedru.
He said about 12 noon on June 15, 2009, the complainant went to one Kwabena Okyere’s store and bought 30 packets of “AA” and “BB” cartridges, valued at GH¢420 and left them in the care of one Kwame Odartey Abel, a porter at the Swedru GPRTU Station behind the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) Accra.
He said after the complainant had left for shopping, the convicts confronted Abel and showed a police identity card bearing the name Peter to him and told him that the goods under his care were illegal.
They brought out a pair of handcuffs and threatened to handcuff Abel, but he refused to be handcuffed, saying that he was not the owner of the goods.
Abel then gave the telephone number of the complainant to the convicts but they refused to call the complainant.
The convicts took all the 30 packets of cartridges away and left their telephone number and their names as Peter and Jonas to be given to the complainant to be contacted at the Central Police Station when the complainant returned.
The complainant reported the matter to the Accra Central Police Station but when the telephone number he had been given was called, there was no response.
The Accra Central Police Station master denied knowing any Peter and Jonas.
On June 7, 2009, a police identification parade was conducted and the three convicts were identified by Abel, who was the witness in the case.
Statements were taken from the convicts and they were subsequently charged.