It was a heartbreaking experience for Hafiz Ali’s father after he witnessed his son being jailed 25 years by the Accra Circuit Court for being part of a gang that robbed a liquor distribution company at Mamprobi and killing a guard in the process.
On his way to the vehicle that would transport him to prison, Ali saw his father and some relatives who witnessed his conviction. He broke down and in tears apologised to his father.
“Forgive me for all the troubles that I have caused you since I was born. I know I might not survive prison, but all I need is your forgiveness,’’ he cried.
It was a moving sight as the father walked with his handcuffed son to the awaiting vehicle. Even as he entered the vehicle, the father could be seen talking to his son and encouraging him to be strong.
Yakubu Shaibu, another member of the gang was also sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by the court, presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh, on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Laryea, a worker at the company, who was found guilty of aiding the robbers to conduct their operation was also slapped with a 25 year jail term.
Ali and Shaibu were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and robbery and were sentenced to 25 years each on each count, while Laryea was also found guilty of abetment of robbery.
All the sentences, according to the court, would run concurrently.
Before passing sentence, Mr Tandoh praised the investigator of the case, Chief Inspector John Awuni of the Accra Regional Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID), for the diligent manner in which he conducted his investigations.
The prosecutor, Chief Inspector Victor Dosso, told the court that on July 18, 2013 at about 4 p.m., six armed men on two motorcycles invaded the premises of Kweku Swanzy Enterprise Limited, a retail company of assorted drinks.
“They ordered all the workers around the gate to get into the company’s premises. This was followed by another order to all the workers to lie on the floor. The robbers shot the security man of the company and stole about GH¢3, 710,’’ he said.
The security man, he said, was pronounced dead after he was rushed to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH).
Chief Inspector Dosso said a CCTV camera captured the robbery scene and the faces of all the robbers.
“It also captured Laryea, leading the robbers to the company’s offices. Upon a tip off, Shaibu was arrested at Abossey Okai. Afterwards, Ali was also arrested,’’ the prosecutor added.
Mr Tandoh, in convicting Ali, Shaibu and Laryea, held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt to establish the charges levelled against them.
The right identities of those who committed the robbery, he said, were crucial to the determination of the case.
“Issues of mistaken identities may arise, but in this case, the CCTV footage clearly identified Ali and Shaibu as members of the robbery gang,’’ he said.
With regard to Laryea, the court held that there was clear evidence that he aided the robbers to get access to the company to conduct their operation.
The CCTV footage, he said, showed Laryea following the robbers in a calm manner, while the other workers were being ordered around to lie down.
The presiding judge also held that there was evidence on record that Laryea, in his caution statement, confessed to helping the robbers.
“His role was to facilitate the robbers’ entry to the company,’’ Mr Tandoh said.
In passing sentence, Mr Tandoh, stated that there was evidence to show that Ali and Shaibu were notorious robbers who had “little consideration for humanity.’’
Laryea, he said, also behaved in an inhuman manner for aiding the robbers to put his colleagues through a very bad ordeal.