Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Drama unfolded at the Fast Track High Court in Accra on Tuesday when two persons who had been convicted together with an ex-police officer for defrauding a businessman of $700,000 were found to have absconded from the courtroom when their sentences were being handed down.
The two, Jeffery Kofi Boakye and Paul Osei Tutu, as well as Seth Dzamesi, the ex-police officer, were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each, but to the surprise of many, Boakye and Tutu were nowhere to be found after the court had pronounced the sentences.
Boakye and Tutu had earlier responded to their names when the case was called.
The court, presided over by Mr. Justice U.P. Dery, therefore, issued a bench warrant for their arrest.
The three convicts had been found guilty by the court on charges of conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretences.
The court, earlier, during the trial, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of two other accomplices, Mike Doe and Evans Akafia, who failed to appear to stand trial.
The convicts and their accomplices took the money under the pretext of supplying 75 kilogrammes of gold to the complainant, who is a businessman and representative of Tijani Resource Company Limited, but it turned out later to be a sham.
Handing down the sentences, the trial judge said the youth should try to earn money and not to defraud, noting that the amount involved in the matter was huge.
The prosecutor, Nii Kpakpo Addo, a State Attorney, prayed the court to hand the accused persons a deterrent sentence to ward off potential or would-be fraudsters.
According to the prosecution, the accused persons did not show any remorse, considering the hardship inflicted on the complainant.
He noted that the country was wooing investors to do business here and it would be prudent for the court to give the accused persons a deterrent sentence so that investors would know that the laws of the country would protect them.
Defence counsel, however, prayed for mitigation, saying the accused persons were young and would have to live fruitful lives for society and their families.