A police detective in the Upper East region has taken a GHC1,000 ($230) bribe in exchange for freeing a suspect from appearing before court, a Starr News undercover investigation can confirm.
Sergeant Abdul-Razak Iddi disclosed his involvement in the criminal deal when Starr News, disguised as a rural farmer and close friend to the suspect way back in Libya, visited him at the Pomolgo-Sirigu Police Station, east of the Kassena-Nankana West District.
“He (the suspect) made me annoyed. Are you getting me? He was supposed to go to remand. But for about six months, he’s been outside. Then, they brought [ten million]. I said okay, fine. From there, come so we would go to State Attorney. We would go and see him. We would do our connection there. He would not bring the reply outside,” Sergeant Iddi unsuspectingly told Starr News one-on-one inside the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) office at the station.
He added: “When I granted him bail, he never came here to tell me anything. And now the reply has come. Instead of you to say okay now, how am I going to help you, you are talking about your ten million (Gh¢1,000). You think the ten million can do anything? Fine. So, I [gave] the ten million to them.”
How Suspect gave the Bribe
A heated exchange this year between the suspect, Peter Akansise, and his wife purportedly ended in the woman reporting her husband to the police with claims he pulled out a gun on her at the time of the dispute.
A crime squad raided the house where a pistol, which the woman is said to have mentioned in her statement, was found. In defence, the suspect explained he got the handgun in Benghazi when some Ghanaians, who were fleeing war-ripped Libya in the fallout from the revolution and the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, were handed free small arms for protection should there be any spillover attack on their way back home through the Sahara Desert.
The suspect refuted the gun-threat claims made by his wife, saying he never touched the weapon again since he came with it from North Africa, much less to pull it out from where he hid it in the room and threaten someone with it. Hours after the police had locked him behind bars, his wife reportedly confessed to the officers there had been no such thing as a shooting threat.
She said she just wanted her husband punished after the brawl and one way to get it done was to strip the house bare so the police could pick him up for keeping an unregistered shotgun under his roof.
The CID officer, widely referred to as Alhaji Iddi in the community, insisted the suspect would be arraigned before court for illegal custody of a firearm. It is said the police detective asked the suspect to pay a fee of Gh¢3,000 to be given to the Kassena-Nankana West District Police Commander, DSP Isaac Oyortey Sackitey, if he wanted to be granted bail and the case blocked from getting to court.
The suspect was unable to meet the demand. Even after the figure was brought down to Gh¢2,500, slashed down to Gh¢2, 000 and further lowered to Gh¢1,500, he still could not guarantee he could raise the amount. Whilst in police cells, he asked a relative to take out a loan of Gh¢1,000 for him, which was the final agreed amount for his bail and for the case to be terminated.
The CID officer received the bribe cash in mixed notes with an assurance that the parcel would get to the commander and things would go in the suspect’s favour.
“The suspect has suffered a lot. He walked for three weeks, day and night, through the desert to Libya. They were 66 migrants in number from Ghana, moving together. Half of them died in the desert. One of them (the migrants) grew so lean on the way his fingers became bony and the rings he wore dropped off on their own in the desert. Yet, the CID did not even have mercy on the young man.
“He told the suspect to always report himself to him. And anytime he goes there, he gives the CID 50 cedis or 70 cedis. So far, what the suspect has paid to the CID officer is about Gh¢700 aside the Gh¢1,000 he took from the suspect saying he was going to give it to the commander,” said an observer in the community.
But months after the suspect had concluded the problem was over, the police detective informed him in August, this year, a message had been sent from the office of the State Attorney for him to be rearrested and processed for court with the same old charge.
Enraged, a SEND-Ghana anti-corruption crusader in the community, Akobulgo Zotipelga, led the distraught suspect to Paga, the district capital, to demand answers from the District Police Commander as to why a case for which a Gh¢1,000 bribe had been taken was still heading for court.
The commander said he knew nothing about that deal. And in a very quick response, he dashed for his mobile phone immediately. Looking furious, he called up the CID officer and ordered him to return the cash at once to the suspect or find himself in the dock if he failed to do so.
Meanwhile, the District Police Commander has received a strong order from the Upper East Regional Police Commander, DCOP Osei Ampofo-Duku, to investigate the police detective and submit a report on the probe within one week.
The directive comes moments after Starr News had approached some top officials at the Upper East Regional Police Headquarters to seek their reactions on Sergeant Iddi’s secret deal.
The District Police Command at Paga is most likely to be flooded this week with angry residents, including school heads and businessmen, who claim they or their loved ones had been browbeaten by the detective into paying hundreds of cedis to be granted bail from a crowded police cage or to skip the scare of standing before a judge.
“He (the detective) knows that here (Sirigu) is a rural place where people easily shiver and are willing to pay anything, even when they are right, the moment a police officer threatens to process them for court. He has taken advantage of that mindset for several years here. We are all going to tell the world how he has tormented us in Sirigu. We are ready to meet with the commander,” said an aroused businessman, Prince Abagna Amalekum.