TWO of the three armed robbers who allegedly shot an Italian national during a robbery operation at Teshie, a suburb of Accra, have been sentenced to 40 yearsâ€™ imprisonment each by an Accra circuit court.
The two, Fuseini Mumuni Gariba aka Burger 32, and Awudu Mumuni, aka Baba Ayitey, 45, pleaded guilty to the robbery-related charges levelled against them.
Fuseini and Awudu, even though facing five charges of conspiracy to commit crime and robbery, pleaded guilty with explanation to two of the charges. Fuseini admitted to two robbery charges and denied the charge of conspiracy.
Awudu also admitted to two charges of conspiracy and robbery. The third accomplice, Charles Agyemang aka Nana Yaw, denied all the charges.
The two accused persons, when asked to explain why they said they were guilty, blamed each other for their ordeal. Fuseini informed the court that he only followed Awudu and Agyemang to the crime scene but did not know that they were going on a robbery spree.
Awudu, on the other hand, blamed Fuseini for his predicament, saying Fuseini asked him to get a car and escort him to go and collect his (Fuseinâ€™s) money somewhere. According to Awudu, Fuseini did not tell him they were going to rob.
The trial judge did not accept their explanation and convicted them on their own plea, sentencing Fuseini to 40 years on each count of robbery. Awudu also received five years for the conspiracy charge and 40 years for the robbery charge but the sentences are to run concurrently.
Fuseini, who allegedly shot the Italian woman, had an additional charge of murder but his plea was not taken.
The judge, before sentencing them, observed that the actions of the convicts could scare investors since the victims were expatriates who had travelled into the country to do business.
As a result of that, the judge said he was punishing them with a higher jail term to serve as a deterrent.
Agyemang was remanded into police custody to re-appear on July 23, for hearing.
Narrating the facts to the court, Reindoff Agyemang, a deputy superintendent of police, disclosed that the victims, Donnini Lorenzo, Rossono Lunghi and deceased Paola Badalass, 49, members of a herbal company in Italy, were in the country as tourists and business persons.
According to the prosecutor, the victims, who initially were residing at Ashaiman, until they recently moved to their residence at Teshie, arrived in the country on April 16, 2012 to train and explore distributors for their products.
Mr Agyemang disclosed that on June 18, 2012, at about 12 midnight, the victims and a Ghanaian lady friend, Angela Addico, arrived at the entrance of their house from Osu in their VW Passat saloon car with registration number GT 6997-10 driven, by Donnini Lorenzo.
Whilst at the entrance, the accused persons who allegedly had trailed the victims from a coffee and ice cream shop at Osu in a taxi cab, suddenly attacked them at gunpoint; and after severely beating them up, robbed them of their bag containing travelling documents, one laptop, four mobile phones and amounts of GHÂ˘695.00, â‚¬1,000 and some groceries which the victims had bought.
According to the prosecutor, Fuseini, without any provocation, shot the deceased, Paola Badalass, who was seated in the front passengerâ€™s seat, in the head.
The victim died the following day at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on admission.
Luck however eluded the accused persons who thought they had escaped from justice as the mobile phone of Fuseini fell on the ground while leaving the scene and this aided in their arrest.
According to the prosecutor, Fuseini was on June 20 arrested from his hideout at Weija.
The others, upon hearing that Fuseini had been arrested, fled to Kumasi where they re-grouped into a robbery gang. The accused, with another group, on July 11, went on a robbery spree and were arrested by the Buffalo Unit of the Ashanti Regional Police Command where a pistol and a dagger were retrieved from them.
Awudu and Agyemang were later transferred to Accra to face trial.
The police are looking for Pee Co Pee, the driver who allegedly drove the robbers to the robbery scene.
By Mary Anane