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Crime & Punishment of Monday, 20 April 2020


Coronavirus: We’re guilty with explanation – Nigerians plead in court

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Two Nigerian nationals who have been arraigned before the Accra Circuit Court for failing to comply with the lockdown restrictions have pleaded for clemency after they “pleaded guilty with explanation.”

Joseph Adewale, 20, and Ajila Aliu, 32, both distributors of Neolife products, have been charged with disobeying the restriction orders imposed by the President as a containment measure to stop the spread of covid-19 pandemic.

They disobeyed the orders before the lockdown was lifted by the President.

When the case was called, before Her Honour Afia Owusua Appiah, the two accused persons “pleaded guilty with explanation.”

Starr News Court Correspondent Muntalla Inusah who was in court reports that the accused persons who were not represented by counsel were remanded in police custody after the court entered not guilty and asked the prosecutor to prepare its witness statements.

The prosecution, led by Chief Inspector Guiliver Tenkorang, was, however, ordered to make available all documents prosecution intended to rely on to the accused persons by way of disclosure.

The accused persons are to reappear in court on April 27, 2020.

Charges Adewale and Aliu have been charged with two counts, to wit, conspiracy to commit crime, namely failure to comply with restrictions imposed, and failure to comply with restrictions imposed contrary to section 23 (I) of the criminal offences Act 29 (Act 1960) and Paragraph 1 (I) of EI 65 and section 6 of the Imposition of Restriction Act (ACT1012).

Brief facts

The brief facts as presented to the court by Chief Inspector Tenkorang were that the complainant, Isaac Ofori-Poku, is a businessman residing at James Town, Accra.

The accused persons, Adewale and Aliu, are Nigerians residing at Agbogbloshie, also in Accra.

He said on April 13, 2020, at about 2:00 p.m., the complainant went out to buy food and he spotted the accused persons carrying digital weighing machines going from one house to another and checking blood pressure and weight of unsuspecting residents of the area.

Chief Inspect Tenkorang told the court that, “due to restriction imposed on movement of persons, the complainant became alarmed and subsequently arrested the accused persons and sent them to the police station for questioning.”

He told the court that a search conducted on the accused persons’ bags revealed one blood pressure machine, one digital weighing machine and eight small containers of food supplement from Neolife Company Limited.”

Upon interrogation, he said, the accused persons admitted they were going to check blood pressure for their clients at James Town,” a clear breach of the restriction order imposed.

“Investigations,” he said, “revealed that the accused persons were checking blood pressure and weight of residents of the community.”

He told the court that, “two women who live in the community have confirmed to the police that the accused persons have been checking their blood pressure regularly.”

They were subsequently charged with the offences after investigations and brought before the court.

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