Bullion van thieves jailed four years

Two people who connived to steal more than GH¢ 1 million they were transporting in a bullion van for a bank will spend the next four years in prison.

A Cash in Transit (CIT) Officer, Bismark Abem, and a driver, Eric Larbi, were found guilty of two charges—conspiracy to commit crime and stealing.

Three years after they diverted their route to steal GH¢ 1,020,500 in a bullion van, the duo were found guilty even though they refunded almost 890,000.

The court presided over by Justice Jane Harriet Akweley Quaye, a High Court Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as Circuit Court Judge, sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment each charge.

On the charge of stealing, the court sentenced them to four years imprisonment each. Sentences are however to run concurrently, the GNA reported.

The convicts were to evacuate cash in the sum of GH¢ 1,020,500 on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank at Tema Main Harbour branch to its head office at High Street in Accra. They however diverted at Airport Hills and shared the money.

Sampson Atuah a dispatch rider was however discharged by the court.

Out of the GH¢ 1,020,500 stolen, GH¢ 889,500 was retrieved from the two convicts. Police say the difference of GH¢ 131,000 was to be recovered.

The case of Prosecuting Chief Inspector Emmanuel Haligah is that the complainant Jonathan Otuei is the Security Coordinator of Gocrest Services in Accra.

On February 7, 2017, Prosecution said Abem and Larbi were detailed by the Gocrest Services to evacuate cash in the sum of GH¢ 1,020,500 on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank at Tema Main harbour branch to its head office at High Street in Accra.

The prosecution said Abem and Larbi used a Toyota Hilux Van with registration number GE 2745-13 in the evacuation of the money.

According to prosecution, Abem and Larbi after collecting the money decided to steal it and therefore drove to Accra Airport Hill Area and shared the money.

The prosecution said Abem and Larbi abandoned the bullion van and kept their booties in “Ghana Must Go” Bags to their respective destinations.

According to the prosecution said the complainant who was expecting Abem and Larbi to deliver the money at about 1500 hours same day, became worried when at 1630 hours they did not show up.

The prosecution said Abem’s cellphone was called by the complainant to know where they were but the phone was off.
The complainant however talked to Abem on Larbi’s Phone and asked him where they had reached.

According to prosecution, Abem told him they were heading towards Accra High Court Area, but Abem and Larbi never go the bank’s head office.

Prosecution a complainant was lodged at the Accra Central Police Station. Abem on the same day took his booty to Accra Central Police Barracks where his sister lived with her husband, an Inspector of Police and showed the money to them.

The prosecution said the Inspector quickly took the money and Abem to the Accra Central Police Station and handed Abem and the money to the Police.

When the money was counted, the prosecution said it was totalled GHS480, 500.00. Larbi on the other hand called his brother Atuah, from Teshie to his house at Israel and showed him his share of the money.

The prosecution said Larbi and Atuah decided to keep part of the money and presented GHS285, 000.00 to the Police.

The Police, which doubted the amount in the custody, went with Larbi and Atuah to Larbi’s house. When Larbi’s room was searched GH¢ 124, 000.00 was recovered. Thus making a total sum of GH¢ 409,000 retrieved from Larbi.

The prosecution said a total of GH¢ 889,500 out of the GH¢ 1,020,500.00 was recovered from Abem and Larbi, leaving a difference of GH¢ 131,000.00 to be recovered.

Abem and Larbi admitted the offences in their caution statements. Atuah denied the offence in his caution statement.

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