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Crime & Punishment of Saturday, 4 January 2014

Source: Graphic Online

I kidnapped them -Suspect tells court

The 27-year-old suspected kidnapper who was arrested recently has admitted he was the mastermind of the child kidnappings from some churches in the Accra Metropolis.

Ernest Kwabena Koomson told the Accra Circuit Court he kidnapped the four children in the recent kidnaps and demanded ransoms from their parents.

Appearing before the court, the accused, who was not represented by a lawyer, said he committed the offence without knowing the repercussions.

His 19-year-old accomplice, Isaac Ntie, who was represented by Mr Odei Fianko, denied the offence proffered by the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Charles Chester.

The court, presided over by Ms Ellen V. Amoah, entered a plea of not guilty for the kidnapper mastermind and his accomplice and remanded them in police custody to reappear on January 7, 2013.

The court heard that the two were arrested about 8:30 a.m. on December 22, 2013 by police officers from the Greater Accra Regional Police Command who had information that a nine-year-old boy had been kidnapped from the North Kaneshie branch of the Lighthouse Chapel International Church (Quodesh) in Accra.

According to the facts of the case, the father of the kidnapped boy, Mr Kojo Spencer, told the police that his son was at Sunday School on the second floor of the church building with his two other siblings, but about 8:22 a.m., he had a call during the church service in the main auditorium of the church from a man about the kidnap.

Mr Spencer said the caller told him that his son had been kidnapped and that he was to pay a ransom of Ghc5000 before the child would be released.

A second call from the kidnapper warned Mr Spencer not to involve the police and directed him to leave the ransom at the Christ Ebenezer Preparatory School at Odorkor Official Town.

The father of the victim obliged while the police, who had already been informed about the developments, wore mufti and monitored the calls and movement of the accused person and his accomplice.

The money was then put in a plastic bag and deposited at the location indicated by the kidnapper.

The police looked on as Ntie, the accomplice, picked up the bag containing the ransom.

Ntie was arrested together with Koomson while he was handing over the money to Koomson, who was on a waiting motorbike close by.

The prosecutor told the police that the house of the accused where the victim was rescued and handed over to his parents was located through intelligence gathering.

Counsel for Ntie prayed the court to grant his client bail, but the prosecuting officer opposed it, with the explanation that it would affect the work of the police who were conducting further investigations into the matter.

Chief Inspector Chester said the police had retrieved from the accused persons some exhibits, including mobile phones used in two similar offences they had committed early on.

He stated that the accused kidnapper did not have a permanent place of abode.

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