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National Identification laptops buyer, trader granted bail

Two persons being held for receiving stolen National Identification Authority (NIA) laptops meant for registration exercise have been granted bail.

The Accra Circuit Court presided over by Emmanuel Essandoh, granted the two Franklin Nketiah and Victor Maduka, a GH₵ 170,000 bail with sureties.

The first accused person, a 30-year-old trader, Franklin Nketiah, was granted GH₵ 85,000 bail with four sureties, out of whom three must be public officers earning not less than GH₵ 3,000.

Nketiah has been slapped with two counts; for dishonestly receiving 12 stolen HP pro-book laptops valued at $15,600(equivalent to GH₵ 85,800.00) and for having in his possession the stolen items.

Nketiah is said to have bought the laptop from an NIA employee and in turn, sold it to Victor Maduka.

Maduka, who allegedly happens to be the buyer of the stolen goods, was also granted GH₵ 85,000 bail with two sureties, one of whom shall be earning not less than GH₵ 1,000.

The computers were allegedly stolen in the course of the Ghana card registration.

Making a case for bail, Counsel for the accused persons, Kwame Afriyie said the two accused persons had been on police enquiry bail for nine months.

The defence lawyer’s argument stems from the fact that one of the accused person [Franklin Nketiah] even issued receipts for the items bought.

That, he argued, was a sign of good faith and showed the accused had no ill motive when the transaction took place.

Mr Afriyie assured the court that the accused persons would not tamper with the ongoing investigations and would readily make themselves available any time they were called.

Having heard the counsel’s plea, the judge granted the two bail and subsequently adjourned the case to July 6.

Facts of the case

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Rita Yeboah, the Prosecutor, said the complainant was Emmanuel Selby, the Head of Information Management System under the NIA.

ASP Yeboah said Nketiah and Maduka reside at Tetegu and Lapaz, respectively.

The Prosecutor said in October last year, the government of Ghana procured 5,000 HP Pro book computers from Denmark for NIA to be used in issuing ECOWAS Cards for Ghanaians.

According to ASP Yeboah, in February this year, the NIA detected that 64 pieces of the laptops had been stolen as such, the Authority commenced investigations.

The prosecution said during investigations; it was detected that one of the employees working under the complainant, stole the laptops and disposed 15 of the laptops at Circle in Accra.

The Prosecutor said the employee, however, could not lead the Police to the receivers of the stolen laptops.

The prosecution said on May 14, this year seven of the laptops were retrieved from a shop at Burma Camp in Accra, and when the serial numbers of the laptops were scanned, they were among the NIA laptops procured.

The prosecution said further investigations revealed that in March this year, Nketiah after bargaining bought and received 12 laptops from two other persons who are now at large and kept them.

Nketiah called Maduka who came to purchase the laptops at a cost of GH₵1,500 each.

ASP Yeboah said during the lockdown some Nigerian businessmen at Circle had their shops closed and Maduka’s shop too was closed down, but he managed to give the laptops to a friend to sell for him. The Supervisor at Burma Camp bought them and he was issued with a receipt.

The prosecution said Nketiah and Maduka admitted the offences in their caution statements.

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