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28 June 2017

‘Justice for All’ beneficiary caged for 20 years

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A metal fabricator, who was released from prison under the Justice for All Programme (JFAP) in 2015, was yesterday jailed 20 years with hard labour by the Accra Circuit Court for engaging in series of robberies at Kwashieman in Accra.

The convict, Samuel Ato alias Kofi Obeng, was slapped with the jail term after the court found him guilty of two counts of robbery.

He was, however, acquitted and discharged on another three counts of robbery because the victims and complainants failed to show up at the court to give their evidence.

Ato benefited from the JFAP in 2015 after two years on remand without trial in connection with a robbery case, but found himself on the wrong side of the law when he led a gang of three to rob some residents of Kwashieman in Accra in the same year he was released.

He was arrested when he attempted to sell some of the stolen items from the robbery operation to one of the victims at Tip Toe Lane, near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra.

During the trial, Ato denied being part of the robbery gang and insisted that he bought the items which he tried to sell to the shop owner.

But the presiding judge, Mr Aboagye Tandoh, in convicting him, stated that Ato failed to lead the police to the said seller of the items.

“I find it as a fact that the accused person was part of the people that robbed the complainants,’’ he said.

The court was also of the view that the prosecution proved that Ato tried to bribe the police officers, who arrested him, with GH¢8,000 to drop the case.

In sentencing the convict, Mr Tandoh explained that he took into consideration the fact that Ato had been in custody for almost two years and the fact that the items stolen had been given back to the victims.

The facts as presented by the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Kwabena Adu, were that on May 31, 2015, about 1a.m, Ato and two others, who are now at large, went on a robbery spree at a compound house in Kwashieman.

The gang armed with a double-barrelled gun entered the house and started robbing from room to room.

Selling items to victim

Chief Inspector Adu said a few days after the robbery, one of the victims was at his shop at Tip Toe Lane when Ato came and offered to sell him a Pineng back-up power, which he (Ato) stole from him.

“When the victim got closer to Ato, he noticed that Ato was wearing his Nike Airmax sneakers and his Tommy Hilfiger wrist watch which were stolen during the robbery. With the assistance of other people, Ato was arrested and handed over to the police,’’ the prosecutor said.

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