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*Joe Tapoline in the dock at last
DESCRIBED BY the Ghana Police Service as one of the notorious criminals harassing people over lands and other properties in the Greater Accra Region, Mr William Nelson Affum, aka Joe Tapoline, a self-styled Chief of Ankwa Dobro near Nsawam, has finally appeared before an Accra Fast Track High Court with one of his accomplices, Mr William Okyere, aka Mpakadan, charged with robbery.
While Affum is being held for abetment of robbery and robbery, Okyere and one Isaac Odartey, who is on the run, are facing charges of conspiracy to rob and robbery.
Affum and Okyere have pleaded not guilty and the Court presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist have remanded them to reappear on 25th March, 2008.
The court is expected to deliver its ruling in respect of an oral bail application put in by Mr Francis E Polley, the Defence Counsel.
However, Mr Kwame Amoako, Assistant State Attorney, prayed the court to decline the bail application, saying the accused persons would interfere with investigations.
Mr Amoako argued before Justice Charles Quist that the assertion that Affum is a chief was not known to him, noting that the issues before the court were not about chieftaincy but robbery.
According to the prosecution, on June 12, 2007, armed men wearing masks attacked one Mr. Ibrahim Mantey, at Adjeiman, near Amasaman at gunpoint and robbed him of his five million cedis (GH¢ 500) and other personal belongings.
The prosecutor said the complainant, Mr Mantey, managed to identify Okyere and Odartey as the two men who attacked and robbed him.
A report was made to the Police and Okyere in his cautioned statement to the Police mentioned Affum as the one who supplied him with the gun for the operation as well as other robbery operations in the Greater Accra Region.
In Affum’s cautioned statement, he also confessed giving guns to Okyere and other people for their criminal activities. He is known to be involved in several other criminal activities and is believed to be standing trial at other courts for other criminal offences.
He claims to be the Chief of Ankwa-Dobro and residents in the area say he has been terrorizing them every now and then.
This reporter later learnt that Joe Tapoline, who also claims to be a businessman, organized accomplices and attempted robbing one Nii Commey of his cash and properties at Ayebi Junction near Dobro in May 2007.
He was arrested by the police and as a result, an Accra District Magistrate Court last year remanded him in police custody as a suspect in the case, while police investigations continued.
Presenting the matter before the Magistrate Court presided over by Mrs Olivia Obeng-Owusu last year, Police Prosecutor ASP Aidan Derry told the Court that in October, 2001, the suspect, Affum, with the intention to kill, pulled his pump action gun, pointed it in the direction of one Isaac Amu and fired, wounding the victim in his right rib and fled the scene.
The prosecutor told the court that the suspect, after the shooting incident also threatened to kill the eye witnesses around if they dared report the incident to anybody.
The unfortunate incident, he continued, was reported to the Nsawam police for investigations to unravel the motive behind the murder attempt, but whiles investigations were ongoing, the suspect and his men were cited in another armed robbery incident in the Eastern Region.
This, the prosecutor said, led to the arrest and subsequent remand of another suspect called Ebenezer Mensah, also known as Buyeyman by the Oda Police in May last year with the first suspect being detained and later discharged.
This is how the prosecutor narrated the current case to the Court last year:
“The same gang led by Affum, again robbed one Ibrahim Mantey to the tune of ¢5 million in cash and his properties worth millions of cedis at Adjeiman near Accra.
The case was reported to the Amasaman Police, leading to the arrest of one of the gang members by the name William Okyere, also known as Mpakadan, who is presently on remand at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons.”
The prosecution added that, after the arrest of Okyere, it became evident that Affum, the first suspect, was the kingpin as well as the supplier of weapons for all the criminal activities in the area.
Police further investigations have revealed that there is an on-going protracted land dispute in the town between the main complainant of the case and the first suspect, Nelson Affum and his gang, who are known land guards in the town.
The prosecution also told the court that fresh evidence in their custody indicates that Affum and his gang were alleged to have murdered three innocent persons sometime ago and buried them in an ant-hill close to his residence at Ankwa Dobro.
Meanwhile, police investigations are ongoing to exhume the bodies for autopsy.
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