General News of 2012-10-01

Gbagbo's Ally charged with murder

Justin Katinan, an ally of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, on Monday appeared before an Accra magistrate’s court charged with conspiracy to murder and two counts of murder.

He was said to have conspired with one Dalo Desire in Cote d’Ivoire to murder two men at Port Bouet in the Ivorian city of Abidjan.

The first murder of a 33 year-old welder, Kamagate Seyobou, took place on March 19, 2011 while Diabate Drissa, 37, a trader, was murdered on March 29, 2011, both at Port Bouet.

His plea was not taken and the Magistrate, Ali Baba Bature, remanded him in custody until October 16.

Katinan, who was granted bail by the Osu Magistrate’s court last week, in the sum of GHC50,000 with two sureties, was rearrested on Friday.

He was to report to the Bureau of National Investigations every fortnight.

The prosecutor, DSP Abraham Annor, prayed the court to remand the accused person in custody to enable INTERPOL, Accra, to carry out further investigations into the matter.

He said he had been informed that Katinan’s accomplice, who is also an ex-minister in Cote d’Ivoire, had been arrested in that country.

Katinan’s lawyer, Mr. Patrick Sogbodzor, opposed to prosecution’s submissions saying his client was put before the Osu District Magistrate’s Court where an extradition process was to commence.

Mr. Sogbodzor said it was proper for INTERPOL, Accra, to amend the charges and put him before the same court instead of another Magistrate.

According to him, the process adopted by INTERPOL, Accra, only amounted to duplication of function.

He told the court that his client had since April 13, 2011 been in Accra as an Asylum seeker and his rights should be protected under the laws of Ghana.

Mr. Sogbodzor, therefore, prayed the court to order that the charges be amended before the Osu Magistrate’s Court.

DSP Annor told the court that on March 19, 2011, Katinan conspired with Desire to murder Seydou in Port Boute in Abidjan.

DSP Annor said Katinan and Desire on March 29, 2011 also attacked and murdered Drissa. A complainant, known as Kamgate Bakary, reported the incident to the Ivorian authorities.

On September 29, this year, Ivorian authorities issued a warrant in respect of Katinan and informed the Ghanaian authorities that he was in Ghana and demanded his arrest.