3 Puzzles 0 Solution: The “Agony” of the Aminas

Tue, 31 May 2011 Source: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong

By Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (Black Power)

There is no such thing as a perfect crime. For every effect there is a cause, for every contact there is a trace. The detection of a crime is dependent on both time and resource. A crime may seem perfect but there is always a victim, an offender and some gain, financial or emotional. There are always witnesses …. Some crimes may be particularly well planned and elude detection for long periods of time, but detection is never impossible. Persistence and opportunity … can unlock even the most difficult investigations. The resourcefulness, skill and tenacity of investigators are all that is needed to identify that a crime has taken place and bring the offender to justice (Paul Millen 2008).

In every crime there is at least one offender (who could be anybody including the supposed victim). Three serious crimes have been committed in Ghana, but none of them has been thoroughly and meticulously investigated; and virtually no offender has been identified and punished.

The name ‘Amina’ is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful names on earth. Ironically however, what some Ghanaian Aminas claim to have experienced or have indeed experienced over the last couple of months has been absolutely ugly. In October 2010 it was Amina I claiming to have witnessed a horrible armed robbery and mass rape incident. About Five months later, it was Amina II sexually molested by some uncivilized so-called university students. Now it is Amina III whose pair of ears has mysteriously and shockingly vanished without a trace. Disappointingly, none of these cases has been satisfactorily handled by the Police whose duty it is to protect lives and property, to ensure the promotion and maintenance of peace which includes the prevention of crimes, and to ensure that laws are effectively enforced.

The cases of the three Aminas aside, regular reports are heard or read about the brutal assaults and murders of people especially women whose killers are never found and brought to justice. The pain felt following knowledge of such crimes becomes even more piercing when one comes to think of the fact that the culprit(s) would have been quite easily traced, captured and chastised if certain very ordinary modern facilities were made available to the police investigations department.

The swift intervention of the Police force in criminal incidents and their effective investigation of criminal activities are obviously very vital in a nation’s effort to protect lives and property, reduce if not uproot crime, and to promote peaceful environment. This indisputable fact makes the provision of modern tools and facilities needed for the successful execution of the duties of the Police Force imperative for every government. Pathetically however, Ghana, like most African countries is still yet to recognize the logic in well-equipping the Police.

I can think of only one major reason for the persistent failure of the Ghanaian Police to satisfactorily investigate heinous crimes and bring perpetrators to justice: lack of well-equipped forensics department(s) or services within the Police Service and in fact the nation as a whole. Some of the key contemporary tools capable of convincingly unravelling crime-puzzles (such as those concerning the three Aminas) are DNA technology and other forensics; but sadly, not a single decent forensic department or service can be found in Ghana let alone within the Ghanaian Police Force including the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). This means that many murderers and other criminals will always escape justice to freely continue with their killing spree and other monstrous activities.

Political elites (leaders) would always provide flimsy arguments such as high cost, to defend their government’s failure to provide such important facilities even if it is diametrically indefensible. Establishing forensics department may surely be a pretty expensive project for an individual to embark on, but the high cost of setting up and funding such a department, should never ever be an excuse for a nation’s failure to provide it.

Ghana may not be able to establish all the numerous branches of forensics such as forensic anthropology and archaeology, forensic chemistry, forensic odontology, forensic optometry, forensic limnology, forensic serology, and others. However, common and probably more important areas such as forensic DNA analysis which uses the uniqueness of an individual’s DNA to solve certain puzzles and to trace a suspect at a crime scene; forensic dactyloscopy – the examination of fingerprints; forensic pathology – examining a body to establish a cause of death or injury; forensic toxicology – examining the level of toxins including drugs and spirits in a human body; and forensic podiatry – the examination of footprints and their traces to establish personal identity and to generate suspects, should never be beyond the reach of a whole nation. It is about time political leaders realized that there is more to governance than diplomacy, empty talks, promiscuity and extravagant lifestyle.

A word to the wise is enough.


Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (aka Black Power) is a lecturer and an investigative journalist in London, UK. He is the author of ‘Fourth Phase of Enslavement: unveiling the plight of African immigrants in the West’

Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong