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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 7 August 2014

Source: Graphic Online

2 Soldiers grabbed for extortion

Two soldiers who are alleged to have been arresting people falsely and taking money from them have been apprehended by the Kwabenya Police in Accra.

At the time of their arrest, Lance Corporal Mark Gwura Forkes, 25, and Lance Corporal Dickson Ruben, 26, who claimed to be officers of the Tema Eastern Naval Command, were said to have collected Ghc2,508, €2,200, mobile phones and some personal belongings from their victims.

Their accomplice, who has been identified only as Iddrisu, is on the run.

The Kwabenya District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Ms Victoria Yamoah, said about 9 p.m. last Monday, the police had information that three men in military uniform on board a taxi had accosted a man after snatching his bag from him at Dome Pillar Two, near Kwabenya.

She said the information indicated that the soldiers beat the man and handcuffed him before putting him in the taxi and drove away.

Ms Yamoah said a police patrol team proceeded to the scene, but later heard that two of the suspects had been apprehended by the Westlands Police.

At the police station, the victim, Mr Daniel Ako-Nai, told the police that the soldiers snatched his bag and took Ghc200 and some personal effects from him.

However, during interrogation after their arrest, the two soldiers gave conflicting statements to the police.

She said while one of them claimed they had visited a friend at Taifa, the other said they had been in Dome for some private business and were returning to their base in Tema.

The suspects, according to Ms Yamoah, said they had stopped the taxi when a man peeped into the car.

Earlier, Ms Yamoah said the police had received a report that about 12 p.m. on that same day three soldiers in a taxi had accosted a man at a point near the Atomic Roundabout.

The victim, whose 2,200 euros was taken from him, was pushed into a taxi that was abandoned on the Tema Motorway, she said.

Ms Yamoah said in the past three months the Kwabenya Police had been receiving complaints from people who claimed to have been accosted by three military men in a taxi in the Kwabenya area.

She said some of the victims claimed they had gone to cash money from different banks and had been trailed by the three soldiers in a taxi.

The victims also told the police that the military men had handcuffed them and taken their money from them, after which they were abandoned at isolated places.

“We have received six of such cases in which the victims said they had lost Ghc68,000, Ghc16,000, Ghc3,000, Ghc1,000, Ghc364 and Ghc344, as well as their mobile phones and other belongings,” she said.

It was suspected that the military men used different taxis in their operations, she added.

Ms Yamoah said last Tuesday, the police organised an identification parade, during which three of the victims identified the suspects as the soldiers who had taken their money from them.

Though the suspects were arrested in military uniforms, they did not have name tags.

Ms Yamoah, however, said the police had since crossed-checked the identity of the suspects with the Military Police, adding that the Military Police had expressed interest in taking over the case.

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