Juju men arrested at Kombian trial

… as serial jail breaker gets six year jail term

By Helena Selby

Kombian being escorted from the Court room yesterday. Pix by Eric Owiredu

Drama unfolded at an Accra Circuit Court yesterday when the police arrested two juju men who reportedly resorted to chanting some incantations, and succeeded in loosening the handcuff on   Johnson Kombian, the serial jail breaker. After their arrest, the Prisons officers quickly changed Kombian’s handcuff, before whisking him away.

The Circuit court, presided over by Mr. Eric Kyei Baffour, had earlier sentenced Kombian to a six year jail term for breaking jail, in addition to the original five year jail term he was serving, after he had pleaded guilty on the charge of escape from lawful custody.

According to the court, the offence of the accused person is a misdemeanor, which takes a maximum jail sentence of 3 years, under section 266, Act 30 of the Criminal Code. However, since the accused person has committed similar offences before, the court might increase the jail term.

Meanwhile, the Prison officer who Kombian claimed aided his escape, after allegedly taking GH¢4,000 bribe, has been placed in custody, awaiting trial.

Narrating the facts of the case before the court, Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, Principal State Attorney, indicated that during the early part of January 2010, Kombian was convicted and sentenced to a five year jail term by a Tamale Circuit Court, for the offence of escaping from the Gambaga prison.

According to him, the accused person, who was also facing several high profile cases, such as robbery, attempted murder, possessing firearms without authority and escaping from lawful custody, was subsequently handed over to the prisons authorities in Tamale to commence the sentence.

He said on January 15, 2010, at about 7:20am, D.S.P Peter Nabb, the Operations Officer in charge of the Tamale Central Prisons, detected that the accused person was nowhere to be found and, therefore, reported the disappearance to the Regional CID.

“On receipt of the complaint, some detectives from Tamale Regional CID visited the prison yard. Upon inspection, it was observed that the ventilation hole, made up of metal mesh on cell A, from where the accused person escaped, was found broken and the debris of the wall packed in the cell. The lead iron, which was used to anchor the accused person was found open, but there was no physical damage to indicate that the accused person forced it open”, the Prosecutor told the court.

He mentioned that none of the prison officers on duty during the escape, was able to tell the police how the lead iron was opened, adding that further investigation in the prisons yard disclosed that the blanket which was on the accused person was found hanging on a razor wire, which was used as a burglar proof on top of the outer ward of the prison yard, near the infirmary.

The Principal State Attorney further stated that the burglar proof at the location, where the accused person escaped from, was not disturbed.

However, the daily journal at the Tamale Central Prison indicated that the prison officers on duty, at the time of the escape, visited the cell at 11:30pm and 3:30am respectively, and found the accused person in custody.

He said during investigations, all the prison officers who were on duty were interrogated, but they all denied knowledge of the escape. The prosecutor pointed out that on 21 November, 2010, Kombian was handed over to the CID headquarters after he was arrested in Togo.

“On interrogation, he admitted escaping from lawful custody and further mentioned that he was aided by a prison’s officer, whom he can identify. According to him, the prison officer provided him with a knife and a handcuff key, which aided him to escape”, the prosecutor indicated.

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