A gang of three have been sentenced to a combined 75 years in jail after pleading guilty to 32 charges by the High Court in Accra.
The convicts, Ishmael Akyene alias Israel Nana Damascus, Daniel Akpan alias Nseh alias Danny and Mbuotidem Edem alias Faith all pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy, robbery, rape and possession of firearms without lawful authority.
The charges comprised of 12 counts of conspiracy, 16 counts of robbery and three counts of rape and possession of firearms without lawful authority.
The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh after convicting them in their own plea, sentenced them to 24 years for robbery, another 24 years rape and 25 years for possession of firearms without lawful authority.
EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, who was in court reports that the convicts are to serve their sentences concurrently, meaning they will serve only the highest of the three punishments which is 25 years.
Justice Yanzuh said the convicts are to serve their sentences in hard labour after considering all the mitigating plea from defence lawyer Sani Rashid and the response from the prosecution led by the Director of Public Prosecution, (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa.
The court also ordered for the confiscation of the Kia Rio vehicle and guns retrieved from them while the implements used were ordered to be destroyed.
Monies retrieved GHc8,500 and other currencies as exhibits were to be disbursed to the rightful owners.
The convicts were said to have robbed volunteers from the UK who were in Ghana to partake in a charity projects . They also had unprotected sex with six of the victims and raping a married woman twice.
Sani Rashid, counsel for the convicts in his plea for mitigation said the court should take into consideration the fact that the convicts showed remorse and did not waste the time of the court.
“Accused did not waste the court’s time. The first and 2 accused have been in custody for the past 4 years while the third has been in custody for about 3 years,” counsel said.
Responding to the plea of mitigation, the DPP, Mrs. Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa told the court that all three convicts are already known to the law.
She said they have been convicted by the lower court for robbery and are serving sentences at Nsawam.
She also told the court that the convicts also have dockets before the office of the Attorney General yet to be processed.
The DPP while agreeing with the defence that the convicts did not waste the time of the court, said the court should have them punished not lower than 25 and 20 respectively for robbery and rape.
She also reminded the court to take notice of the offense of robbery especially when it is committed using force with weapons.
The convicts were said to have robbed volunteers from the UK who were in Ghana to partake in a charity projects planned by Partnee West Africa.
Per the brief fact, the complainants are British national and a United Kingdom (U.K) registered charity that operates in Ghana.
The prosecution said on December 8, 2018, a group of twelve volunteers comprising of six male students, four female students, two teachers (one male and one female) visited Ghana from the U.K to partake in charity projects.
The prosecution said when the volunteer group was constituted in the U.K, they spent a year conducting fund raising activities and had obtained clothes of various sizes, stationary, toothpaste, toothbrushes, footballs, toys, and cash for the charity to give out as donations.
It said each of the 12 volunteers came with a suitcase full of these donation items and the group left the United Kingdom at about 5:00 am, transited through Portugal and Togo and arrived at the Kotoka International Airport at about 11pm.
The complainants it said went to meet them with a bus and sent them to a guesthouse, near Muuston Beach, Oshiyie, near Kokrobite, Accra.
The prosecution said, they arrived at the guesthouse at about 1:00am and the ladder on the bus prevented the driver from entering the compound so they parked outside the gate and offloaded the suitcases from the bus and sent them into the house.
The complainants it said introduced the group to Naa the cook and Isaac who was responsible for maintenance.
It said both Naa and Isaac lived in a separate house on the compound of the guesthouse.
After the introduction, Isaac left for bed and Naa prepared a toast for some of the volunteers who wanted to eat while the complainants gave the group security and safety briefing and showed them around the house.
The prosecution said, they first went to the boys’ room and continued to the girls’ room and whilst Naa was leaving the main house for her room, she found the accused persons at the door and immediately banged the door and ran to inform the rest of the group.
“The accused persons who were armed with guns, a knife, taser and a long metal which was flat at one end and pointed at the other end, forced the door open and found most of the group members in the corridor outside the girls’ room,” the brief facts stated.
“The accused persons ordered all of them to enter the girls’ room and made them lie down on the floor. Sandy was however asked to lie on the bed,” and they “covered the heads of the victims with sheets, blankets and towels and informed them that they had to cooperate with them.”
It said “With their weapons in hand, the accused persons stripped those among the fifteen victims who had bumbags and backpacks on, of their bags and took what they liked from them.”
It said, the accused persons also searched the pockets and bodies of the victims and took their mobile phones, iPads, power banks, money, jewelry, bags and bank cards.
It added that the accused persons made the victims disclose their PIN codes to the bank cards they had taken as well as the passwords in a blue mobile phone that was found in the first accused person’s car by the police when the first accused person saw them in the vicinity of his house and fled abandoning the car and its content.
The prosecution said all the accused persons forcibly had unprotected sex with six of the female victims with the third accused raping one married victim twice.
“The accused persons operated quietly and spent about three hours in the guesthouse,” and “they rummaged through the rooms and suitcases of the victims and eventually left the property at about 4:00am with their booty.”
The prosecution said when they eventually left, “the female victims went to the Finney Hospital and Fertility Centre where they were examined, and swabs were taken from each of them.”
It said, “upon the arrest of the accused persons, swabs were taken from them and subjected to DNA analysis.
“The outcome showed that semen was found on three out of the six swabs taken from the six sexually assaulted female victims and the DNA in the semen matched the DNA of each of the accused persons.”
The prosecution said the victims who came from the U.K left for the U.K the same day but one of the victims whose bank card was taken by the accused persons, received messages from his bank which indicated that the two who came out of a Green Kia Rio saloon car with Registration number GT 7892 X made the withdrawals.
The vehicle was traced to the first accused person who took to his heels as the Police got close to him.
The blue mobile phone which the accused persons used to record the phone passwords and bank PIN codes was found in the car.
His room was searched in the presence of a witness and other personal items of his were found including money.
“The CCTV footage of the Goil filling Station for that period was obtained and it indicated that two men who came out of a Green Kia Rio saloon car with registration number GT 7892 X made the withdrawals.
“The vehicle was traced to the first accused person who took to his heels as the Police got close to him.
“The blue mobile phone which the accused persons used to record the phone pass words and bank pin codes was found in the car.
“His room was searched in the presence of a witness and other personal items of his were foundincluding money,” it stated.
The IMEI numbers of some of the mobile phones the accused persons stole from the victims were obtained and they assisted in detecting the location of the accused persons.
The first accused person was eventually arrested and he led the police to the arrest of second accused persons.
The first and second accused persons took police to the third accused person’s house, but he managed to escape through the roof of his house and left for Nigeria.
The Police however found the third accused person’s Nigerian passport in his room and same was taken for evidential purpose.
He was subsequently extradited from Nigeria to stand trial in Ghana and at identification parades organised on different dates, the complainants and Naa identified the first and third accused persons as part of the three men who attacked them on December 8, 2018.
The first and second accused persons also led the police to a spot near a refuse dump on a bush along the Legon road to retrieve the implements the used for committing crime including guns and ammunition.