Kwame Ati Asare
The prime suspect in the alleged case of police attack and extortion at Axim in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region, Kwame Ato Asare Ani has reportedly been arrested.
Kwame Asare who was declared wanted by the Police following the emergence of a viral video that showed a group of men assaulting police officers was reportedly arrested at Enchi in the Western North Region, according to a report carried by Accra based United Television (UTV).
According to the report, he was spotted by some residents of Enchi under a tree eating and they alerted the police to round him up.
Information gathered indicates that the Enchi police are taking steps to transfer the suspect to Axim Police where the substantive case is under investigations.
Kwame Asare spoke from a hideout explaining the circumstances under which he was captured in a standoff with some police officers.
According to him, he is not an armed robber as described by the Ghana Police Service but rather an informant to the police in the Axim area.
Speaking earlier with the television station Kwame said he has over the period of one year been working with the police as an informant and a liaison between the police and some illegal miners in the area.
He stated that aside collecting money from illegal miners on behalf of the police, he and his gang had also been providing security and fighting criminals in the area with the support and approval of the police.
But addressing the circumstance leading to his fallout with the police, Kwame Asare said he received a payment of GHC100,000 from some illegal miners but failed to deliver the money to the police after he felt being cheated by the police in previous deals.
“The people in the town I live in all know that I work with the police. Police officers troop to my house at least five times in a day just to come and receive monies. Sometimes they don’t leave if they don’t see me. I give them money all the time.
“The actual reason the police are after me is that they sent me to collect one billion (GH₵100,000.00) from a site at Kwakukrom but I refused to hand over the money to them. That is the reason why they are angry with me.
“I didn’t give the money because I felt cheated after working with them all this while. They were only giving me small sums of thousand or two thousand every time…
“It is because of the one billion I took and failed to give to them that they are accusing me of being a robber. But I am not an armed robber, nobody can prove that I have ever robbed their site. Sarfo (Axim Police Commander) told me to bring the one billion before they will release my car and other machines which they have seized,” he said.
On Sunday, April 2, 2023, there was reported viral video in which a supposed leader of the gang was seen accosting a police officer and accusing the officer of attempting to arrest him after he had given him money.
Subsequently, the Ghana Police Service later on Sunday released a statement which said it arrested some four men on March 28 after the Axim Divisional Police Patrol Team reported an attack on them by a gang.
According to the police, it also conducted a search at the residence of Kwame Asare where some weapons and other items were retrieved.
“On March 9, this year, the Axim Divisional Police patrol team reported an attack on the team by a gang that seized the magazine of a Service rifle together with some mobile phones belonging to the Police officers.
“An intelligence operation was immediately launched after the report to get the suspects arrested.
“On March 28, 2023, after about three weeks of the intelligence operation, four men, Kojo Siah alias Mozey; Emmanuel Mensah alias Kofi Asamoah, Maxwell Cudjoe and Agyabu Haruna Dissawu were arrested for their suspected involvement in the attack.
“A search conducted at the residence of Kwame Ato Asare Ani, the prime suspect, who is still on the run, led to the retrieval of three pump-action shotguns.
“Also, one pump-action shotgun, machetes and eight BB refilled cartridges were retrieved from the suspect’s unregistered Honda CRV vehicle. Other items retrieved from the suspects include two live refilled BB cartridges and one unregistered motorbike,” the police statement said.
The statement added that the police became aware of the video showing the confrontation between some police officers and the arrested gang in which the police were pleading with the gang members over an extortion allegation.
According to the statement, the allegation of extortion has since been referred to the Police Professional Standards Bureau (PPSB) for investigation.
In the said video, the leader of the gang is heard shouting at a group of police officers saying “You asked me to show you something and I showed it to you. Now I ask you to drop me the car and you insist that you are sending me away. Where were you sending me to? You came to demand money at the site and we gave you everything. After that, I asked you to drop me from the car and yet you insisted on sending me. So, if I had not asked someone to block the road with a motorbike you would have sent me away,” the gang leader was heard furiously confronting a member of a group of police officers with a patrol car in what looked like a forest.
As the confrontation raged on, the leader of the gang was heard shouting various commands at his group while the police officers bent on their knees pleading.
“Kwame we beg you,” one of the officers stated as he held on to his rifle from being taken away from him by the gang leader.
By Vincent Kubi