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Crime & Punishment of Saturday, 19 October 2019


Four alleged Canadian Kidnappers freed

Four out of eight persons being held for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping of two Canadians in Kumasi have been discharged by an Accra High Court.

The four namely Seidu Abubakar aka Mba, Abdul Nasir, Safiano Abubar and Abdul Rahman Suliemana aka Wofa were discharged by the Court after the prosecution had substituted the charge sheet with a new one.

The prosecution led by Ms Hilda Craig, a Senior State Attorney informed the court that following a review of the case docket and after further investigations, the Attorney General’s Office has decided to discharge the four.

Hence the court presided over by Mr Justice George Baudi discharged them accordingly.

“By Court upon the request by the state to drop the charges against the accused persons, they are accordingly discharged and a new charge sheet be substituted,” the court ruled.

The other four standing trial are Sampson Aghalor aka Romeo, a 27-year-old Computer Engineer, Elvis Ojiyorwe, a 27-year-old businessman, Jeff Omarsa, a 28-year-old Tiler, all Nigerians, and Yusif Yakubu, a Ghanaian resident in Kumasi.

They have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit crime to wit kidnapping and two counts of kidnapping.

Ms Lauren Tilley and Bailey Chittey, Canadian nationals who were in the country for a voluntary work and residing in Kumasi, were kidnapped by the accused persons.

They have pleaded not guilty and the court remanded them into lawful custody at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons to reappear on October 31.

Meanwhile the trial judge has ordered the prosecution to furnish the accused persons who were without legal representation, with all relevant documents that they intend to rely on.

Narrating the new facts before the court, Ms Craig said somewhere in March this year, Aghalor, met Yakubu in Kumasi to help him buy a weapon.

Ms Craig said Yakubu managed to get a pistol and 40 rounds of ammunition from one Dery for Aghalor who paid GH 3,700 cedis for it.

In the course of that transaction, prosecution said Aghalor and Yakubu became friends and kept in touch.

Subsequently, Aghalor visited Yakubu on several occasions in Kumasi where they met Abdual Nasir, an aluminium fabricator who had been engaged by Yakubu to do some work for him.

Prosecution said Aghlor and Yakubu went out to eat and Yakubu informed Nasir that his friend Aghalor had come to Kumasi and he needed assistance to look for and kidnap a white man he worked with to collect “Serial Numbers” from him.

The two accused left and were not heard from again by Nasir. In the month of May, this year Aghalor travelled back to Nigeria with Ojiyorwe and Omarsa who agreed to come with him to Ghana to work in his business.

Prosecution said Aghalor paid for their journey to Ghana. Aghalor, Orjiyorwe and Omarsa arrived in Ghana in the later part of May this year and stayed in various hotels in Ashiaman for about a week before proceeding to Kumasi to meet Yakubu.

The prosecutor said the four accused persons discussed the agenda of kidnapping ex-patriates and to get money from them.

Yakubu was tasked by Aghalor and given money to arrange the necessary things needed for the kidnapping operation.

On June 4, this year, Yakubu rented a vehicle and brought along two pistols which all four accused persons went to test fire.

They then proceeded to town in search of their victims to kidnap.

Prosecution said Ms Lauren Tilley and Bailey Chittey, Canadian nationals who were in the country for a voluntary work and residing in Kumasi were kidnapped by the accused persons.

The prosecutor explained that the two ladies in the company of a colleague of their left a restaurant for their apartment at Ridge, Nhyiaeso in an Uber Taxi. Just when they alighted from the vehicle, the four accused person drove their vehicle to them and grabbed them amidst shooting.

In the process, prosecution said, the accused persons kidnapped the two Canadians and hid them in an uncompleted building at Amoam- Achiase in the Kwabre District of the Ashanti Region.

The accused persons, prosecution said, blind folded and tied the two victims up while in their captive and threatened them with knives and guns.

Prosecution said the accused persons also touched them inappropriately and threatened to have sex with them. They further contact the parents of the victims, demanding a ransom of 800,000 dollars. To frighten the parents to send the ransom, the accused person smeared the bodies of the victim with fowl blood and took pictures and forwarded same to their parents.

Prosecution said on June 11, this year, a joint operation by security operatives arrested Yakubu at his house and he led operatives to arrest Aghalor at Aboabo.

The operatives also arrested Orjiyorwe and Omarsa in their hideout at Amoam-Achiase, whilst they held on to the victims amidst exchanges of fire.

Orjiyorwe and Omarsa also threatened to kill the victims if the operatives did not retreat.

The Operatives managed to arrest them and the victims rescued. A search conducted at the crime scene revealed several items including hand grenades, knives, pistols and other personal effects of the victim.