Thursday, April 26, 2018

Nyansa  Boakwa interviewing the repented armed robber
Day in, day out, lives and properties are lost to individuals and groups who attack us in our homes and offices. Lives that are spared are scarred with trauma.

Though they act inhumanely, they are human just like we are. This leaves us wondering who these people are, why they do what they do, how they know when and when not to attack and how they even come by the weapons they use against us.

These questions will be addressed in the below confessions of a repented armed robber.
At noon on April 19, a young man willingly walked into the studios of Happy FM at Asylum Down after listening to the confession segment on Happy FM’s ‘Nsem Pii’ show.

In an interview with Pastor Nyansa Boakwa, host of Nsem Pii on Happy FM, here is what the 42 year old repented armed robber who will be called ‘Koo’ for the purposes of this story and on grounds of security has to say as he makes these hideous revelations.

According to Koo, negligence from his father and his inability to excel academically resulted in him dropping out of school at an early age. He started gambling at the age of 15. As a result of greed, this habit of gambling landed him in prison when a rich man he gambled with and cheated reported him to the police for stealing from him.

Koo recounted that he connived with the woman who sells the playing cards and tampered with them. When he was done, he told the woman to sell those particular cards that had been tampered with to the rich man.

After the rich man had purchased the playing cards, Koo and the said rich man gambled in the latter’s home where he won 7,000ghc. The rich man refused to accept defeat so he went back to the same shop to buy another set of cards and he was sold another one of the tampered cards. Upon reaching home, he was defeated again and this time around, he lost 3,000ghc.

The rich man refused to let Koo leave his house with his 10,000ghc so he attacked Koo with a knife but Koo got a hold of it and injured him running away with the money. He went to pay the cards seller for her participation.

The rich man later reported the incident to the police and said Koo attacked him in his house and stole from him. The police took the rich man’s word and didn’t believe Koo when he said they gambled and he won.

Koo was arrested after two months when he had already squandered all the money. He was tried and jailed for two years.

Koo had heard rumours of sodomization in prison and that was his fear. But when he got there he realized it was a choice.

According to him, life in prison was not easy. He had to wash clothes of some inmates for one cedi and that was how he was able to buy certain things he needed.

“The food served there was so terrible that it was not fit for a dog. The banku had no salt and the soups were so light that you could see your reflection in it,” Koo stated.

He also revealed that being sodomized in jail is a choice one makes if they decide to enjoy their stay in prison. An older man or a longer serving inmate with money will have sexual intercourse with an inmate who allows it in exchange for giving him good food and basically providing a comfortable life for him.

We have all heard that Indian hemp is sold in jail, I am sure just like me, you wonder how the Indian hemp gets into the prisons to be sold to inmates.

According to Koo, the inmates insert the ‘wee’ into their anus when they go out for communal labour and smuggle into the prison. These inmates before they leave undergo an exercise to widen their anus by inserting a big battery in there. They leave it in there for three days. Other objects that are not allowed in prison like cell phones are also smuggled into the prison through the anus. The people who do this are referred to as ‘cargo’.

Koo went to jail as a chronic gambler, instead of getting reformed in there, he came back worse. There are different blocks for different crimes and Koo knew where each was. He went to the robbery block and as he passed by, he overheard an argument where one person was being accused of being the reason ‘they’ got arrested. He got closer upon hearing this, when he was asked what he wanted, he told them, he was like them, implying that he just wanted to mingle. He was then asked the offense that landed him prison, in order to fit in and impress them, he lied and said he was jailed for shooting someone he went to rob.

He became friends with them and they planned how they were going to go on robbery operations when they were released. In there they get phone calls from people on the outside giving them information about who to rob but since they were incarcerated, they called their counterparts out there and transferred the jobs to them.

The source of the information is the scary part. The information comes from house helps, drivers and personal assistants among others. These are trusted people in our everyday lives.

When Koo was initiated into the robbery gang, he and some other interested participants were trained at the prison backyard which was their meeting place. In the course of the training, there were 99 laws to abide by and if one goes against any, he was fined and inability to pay the fine lands him in a jail set up by the leaders of the robbery gang community inside the prison.

When Koo returned home after 2years with the feeling that he had been left behind in life and needed to catch up with his peers.

His family also stigmatized him and so he left home feeling like an outcast. He then contacted some armed robbers whose phone numbers he had gotten from his new friends in prison.

He moved in with them and served them as a houseboy. He got paid for doing this but he wasn’t participating in their robbery activities. After a while he decided to go with them for the robberies.
Koo’s first robbery operation was in Awoshie. A house girl had informed the gang that her employer was coming home with a sum of 80,000ghc .

Koo disclosed that “we didn’t have any guns but there were some police men who rented out the guns to us in exchange for one third of the money we stole.”

They had told the police they were going to get 30,000ghc when in actual fact they were going to get 80,000ghc. After they had rented the guns from the police, they met with the house girl who aided them to duplicate the keys to the said house.

This, according to him, was done by pressing the keys on a bar of soap to get the impression and the soap was later sent to a locksmith for the duplication.

He added that the house help instructed them to attack at 1am so they did. When they entered they slapped the house help in the face to fake an attack on her. She started screaming for help which called the attention of her boss.

He arrived at the scene but refused to hand over the money to them, his wife joined in and pleaded with the robbers to take the money and leave her family unharmed. As the man struggled with them, they hit him hard on the head with the gun getting him unconscious.

Koo was instructed to rape the 13 year old daughter of the couple who was also present at the scene of the attack, he refused to do it but another member was delighted to have that unfortunate opportunity passed to him, the young girl was mercilessly raped in front of her mother as she cried out “I have given you the money, why are you doing this”.

When the father gained consciousness, he asked what was going on upon seeing the blood stain from his daughter’s rape. Another one wanted to rape his wife, he fought to stop them but they overpowered him and tied him up as they raped his wife right in front of him “at that moment, I thought to myself, what kind of job have I gotten myself into”, Koo said.

“After everything, we took the money and left. We later met the house help at the Accra Mall to give her share of 5,000ghc to her. We met the policeman who provided us with the guns too and gave him his share of 5,000ghc”, Koo stated. He added that he also got 5,000ghc which he was very happy about.

The story continues with Koo recounting his meeting with a different gang who were more established than the previous one and had support from some police officials and Judges for two more robberies on Happy FM’s Nsem Pii.   He said they met at Ashaiman.

Over there they were contacted by a banker who called to inform them that  a client was about to make a withdrawal. She gave them the time the client  was going to pick up the money -which according to Koo was 50,000ghc - ,  the model of car he was going to bring and the car registration number.

They picked up their guns which they had already purchased from some police men at the cost of 9,000ghc and 6,000ghc. They then drove in cars they were given by the police to Dansoman where the bank was.

They went ahead of time and waited for the man outside.  They spotted him when he got there and when he went inside the bank to withdraw the money, the lady called them to alert them that he had the money and he was stepping out. They followed him closely from Dansoman till they got to Circle, a little beyond Odo Rice.

One of the cars overtook his car and stopped abruptly in front of him. He got out of the car demanding for explanations, they also got out wearing face masks and gave warning shots.

They immediately took a pinch bar from their car to force open the trunk of the man’s car and made away with the money leaving a small stick in the ignition to prevent the man from chasing them. Bystanders could not go after them maybe because they were afraid of getting shot.

Koo further disclosed that the cars they used had the real number plates in front whiles the ones behind were fake number plates so they could not be traced. He also revealed that armed robbers never go on any operation without reliable information from an insider.

He made 5,000ghc from that robbery, the banker made 5,000ghc and the police also got 10,000ghc.

Koo spoke about another operation, this time around at East Legon.

Just like the first robbery the house girl gave them the information about her madam returning from abroad.

 “She gave us the time of arrival and the kind of car that was going to pick her up,” Koo added.

Again they went ahead of time and waited for her to come out of the airport. They followed her from the airport until they got to her gate and attacked her right there. The house girl had come out to open the gate so she fell to the ground when they got out of their cars and gave warning shots.

“The woman was refusing to give us the keys so we took them by force and opened the trunk to take out the luggage and drove off in our cars. She had children at the back seat crying.” Koo narrated.

When they got home they burnt the other content of the luggage. All they needed was the money and keeping those other things was a risk they were not ready to take.

They found 30,000 dollars, the exact amount the house girl told them they would find.

He detailed that there are big police officials and judges who assist them when they get into trouble, they assisted them by reducing their charges when they are arrested. For instance, if it is robbery or murder, it could be reduced to stealing. This reduces their jail term to about two years. When they have more money they could get the judge to arrange an appeal for them which further reduces it and possibly lets them free.

Koo said he is a changed man now, because he is afraid he would be forced to kill or become an accomplice to murder eventually. He has cut all ties with his friends and has even approached the police three times to tell them what he knows but they always tell him to go and bring the guns he has. That, he says, has been very difficult to do because he cannot just walk to the robbers and demand that the hand their guns over to him.

He concluded by saying “I want to help end robbery in Ghana and I am ready to talk on any platform, I don’t care if I die and if I die, I die for my country Ghana,” he told Happy FM’s Nyansa Boakwa on Nsem Pii.

By: Susan Amoako Agyemang


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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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