Ghana Armed Forces

Ghana Armed Forces

Twenty-two military personnel who have committed crimes against the state since 2009 have been made to face the full rigours of the law.

While a few have been discharged from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), some are in prison custody, with others still facing prosecution at the courts.

A statement issued by the Director of Public Affairs of the GAF, Colonel Mbawine Atintande, said, for instance, that since August 2009, five soldiers had been on remand at the Nsawam Prison for allegedly kidnapping the managing director of the Intercontinental Bank.

The alleged kidnappers, according to the statement, had been suspended from the GAF since August 24, 2009, although the case was still pending.

It said contrary to the perception that the GAF shielded their own and undermined justice, it would surprise many that the GAF handed over miscreants in the system who deserved civil court prosecution to the police, regardless of whether the crimes committed by them attracted media and public interest or not.

The statement recalled that in 2009, three airmen allegedly conducted an unauthorised land guard operation, an action which was strictly abhorred by the GAF, and were handed over to the police.

They were later granted bail by a court.

Another incident which occurred in 2009 which the military detested, it said, was the unlawful possession of a firearm by a soldier.

It said the soldier was initially detained at the Cantonments Police Station and processed for court.

?Afterwards, he was granted court bail and reappeared at the Circuit Court at Cocoa Affairs on July 16, 2010. The case is still pending, awaiting advice from the Attorney-General?s Department,? it said

In 2010, according to the statement, two major cases came to the fore. The first involved two airmen who allegedly engaged in an unauthorised operation and also extorted GHc53 and a mobile phone from a taxi driver on April 29, 2010.

They were initially detained at the Police Headquarters and later released to their units. Subsequently, they were arraigned before a Cocoa Affairs Court on September 24, 2010.

In August 2011, the statement said, an unprecedented incident occurred where an officer of the GAF escorted a Naval Rating suspected of homicide to the Military Police. The suspect was said to have had a scuffle with a taxi driver and the driver died afterwards.

?The rating was not shielded but subsequently handed over to the Police Service where he was detained until granted bail by the High Court in Accra,? it said.

It added that the suspect was subsequently re-arraigned before a District Magistrate Court on April 7, 2012 and the case was still pending at the court.

Other cases that occurred in 2011 involving military personnel, it said, included enlistment fraud, unlawful possession and attempted sale of firearm, alleged robbery and alleged fraud.

Apart from the enlistment fraud, it intimated, the suspects in those cases had been discharged by the courts.

One soldier who was suspected to be involved in the alleged fraud was to be used as a prosecution witness by the CID Headquarters when the court started sitting on the case.

According to the statement, in 2011, a Naval officer was dismissed from the GAF when it was established that he stole two endorsed but open cheques from his friend and cashed them without his friend?s permission.

Two main cases that drew the attention of the public in 2012, it said, were the alleged illegal possession of a fake currency and alleged murder.

In the case of the fake currency, a soldier and a civilian friend rescued a suspect from mob action and handed him over to the Madina Police on March 22, 2012. The suspect allegedly tried to convert fake $4,000 into cedis.

It said a charge of murder, on the other hand, was preferred against five soldiers for allegedly causing the death of a civilian while on duty at Weija to curb illegal logging and lumbering. The Military Police was charged to investigate the matter and accordingly the five soldiers were detained at the guard room.

?These suspects were arraigned before the Adjabeng Circuit Court and were made to reappear on January 23, 2013. The case is still pending before the court,? it said.

In the course of this year, it said, two high-profile cases, one alleged extortion and an assault and robbery case had been dealt with by the GAF.

?Clearly, with these drastic measures by the GAF, miscreants are finding it difficult to fit into the system as the GAF shield no criminal,? the statement said.

Dailygraphic

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