Some of the suspects being escorted by the police
A pendrive containing the call recordings of four persons on trial for their involvement in the kidnapping two Canadian ladies in Kumasi in the Ashanti Regional in 2019 has landed in court as exhibit.
The pendrive contains the digital forensic examination conducted on 10 different mobile phones of the accused persons which was submitted to the Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service by the Anti-Armed Robbery Unit.
The pendrive and the report analyzing contents on the pendrive was tendered in evidence at the Accra High Court hearing the case by Detective Sergeant Sylvester Essel, a Forensic Analyst with Ghana Police Service who carried out the examination.
The police said they examined the phones and SIM cards and other related numbers that were used during the ensuing kidnapping which sparked public outrage and attracted the attention international media.
According to the investigators, they were able to retrieve audio recordings which were yet to be played by the court at the next court date.
Sampson Aghalor, 27, computer engineer; Elvis Ojiyorwe, 27, businessman and Jeff Omarsa, 28, tiler – all Nigerians – and their Ghanaian counterpart, Yussif Yakubu, 28, are facing three counts of conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.
The kidnapping of the two ladies sparked public outrage in early June 2019 and a National Security operation led to the dramatic release of both ladies and subsequent arrests of eight suspects on June 11, 2019.
Four out of the eight persons who were initially arrested in connection with the kidnapping were discharged as the prosecution decided to drop all charges against them after reviewing the investigations.
Led in his evidence in chief by Winifred Sarpong, a Principal State Attorney, Detective Sergeant Essel told the court that on February 18, 2020 he was on duty at the Cyber Crime Unit at the CID Headquarters when Detective Chief Inspector Mathew Anokye brought in a sealed brown envelope containing 10 different makes of phones and attached were a court order and a request form.
He said the mobile phones comprised Vivo and an iPhone labeled Sampson Aghalor, an Infinix phone labeled Yussif Yakubu, a Tecno phone labeled Jeff Omarsa and some other Samsung and iPhones which were not labeled.
He told the court that the request attached to the phones was asking the Cyber Crime Unit to conduct digital forensic examination on the 10 different devices, specifically to determine whether the users of the device communicated among themselves.
He said it also requested an examination into whether there were any social media engagements in the form of communication among the device owners as well as establish whether there were any images that would support the case under investigations.
He said he did the analysis and issued a report to that effect and attached a pendrive which contained extracted audio files which were call recordings and images from the mobile phones.
He prayed the court to admit the report as well as the attached pendrive into evidence but the move was objected to by Olive Atsu Abada, counsel for Aghalor as well as Dankwa, Omarsa and Yakubu, who said the document was not signed by the witness seeking to tender it.
The objection was opposed by Mrs. Sarpong, who argued that the document was relevant to the case, and added that the witness worked under somebody from an institution of high ranking and although he happened to be the one who worked on the devices and generated the report, he couldn’t have signed in his own capacity since the report was going to be forwarded to the anti-armed robbery unit which made the request.
The court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo overruled the objection and admitted the report and the attached pendrive for the audio recordings to be played next time.
The case was adjourned to March 22, 2021.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak