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Ghana And Niger Clash Over Stolen Vehicle
 
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04-Aug-2011  
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The Ghana branch of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) and its Nigerien counterparts are set on a collision course over an Audi Q7 vehicle which was stolen in Accra in 2010, but presently said to be in Niger.

This is as a result of the alleged refusal of Interpol Niger to hand over the vehicle, stolen from Ghana and belonging to one Fati Baba to Ghanaian security agencies even in the light of concrete evidence that the vehicle is indeed in Niger.

The case of the suspected stolen car presents a story of armed robbery laced with allegations of political interference and stampeding from security and political power in Niger.

Not even the dispatch of an Interpol officer from Ghana, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr Vincent Adotey, to Niger, could secure the return of the car, as Mr Adotey was given a 24-hour ultimatum by police authorities in Niger to leave the country or face detention.

Sources at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service told the Daily Graphic that even as Mr Adotey left Niger, the commercial bus he was travelling on was stopped at the border. Subsequently, his passport was seized and he was only released as he made calls to the Interpol Secretariat in France and also to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Paul Quaye.

Prior to that, another Ghanaian, Alhassan Omar Farouk, a brother of Fati Baba, who had been given a letter by Interpol Ghana to Niger to assist in impounding the vehicle, was arrested by the Nigeriens, detained for five days and arraigned on charges he said were not clear to him.

“They accused me of not having an authority note from my sister, then they asked me to disclose who led me to Niger and when I said I was alone, they said I was not telling the truth,” Farouk told the Daily Graphic.

Farouk narrated to the Daily Graphic his Niamey ordeal, during which he spent five days in a prison reserved for hardened criminals, and was subsequently asked by security operatives in Niger whether he wanted the car or his life.

“I had no other option than to plead for my life,” Farouk said and confirmed that the car was indeed in Niger and he had seen it at an auto mechanic garage in Niamey.

He said initially the Interpol officers in Niger had welcomed him warmly and facilitated his initial stay. However, he said, after he had spotted the car at the garage following a tip-off, events took a dramatic turn as it emerged that there were some people with political influence in Niger involved in the purchase of the stolen vehicle.

Farouk recounted events leading to the stealing of the car and said he had been attacked by three armed robbers after he had driven into his sister’s house in the evening.

Subsequently, upon a tip-off, one Alhaji Talatu, who is said to be a Nigerien, was arrested after it emerged that he was the one who had allegedly been funding the operations of the armed robbers who stole the car.

Farouk said there was a recorded conversation in which Alhaji Talatu was implicated and in the tape there was talk of an elaborate car stealing syndicate that cited operatives possibly linked with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and some officials at the country’s borders.

He said the tape had been played to security officials in the country, including the Inspector General of Police.

Farouk said Alhaji Talatu was arrested at one of the country’s borders as he tried to leave the country by one uncompromising border official, who resisted attempts to be bribed, and he was subsequently charged with armed robbery.

He was, however, released by the police on bail but had since jumped bail and is presently on the run.

Fati Baba corroborated the story of her brother and indicated that efforts to seek the involvement of the Minister of Interior had proved unsuccessful, but recounted the assistance of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni, when her brother was arrested in Niger.

She said there had also been efforts to seek the assistance of an influential Nigerien businessman who is based in Accra and said to be connected politically in both Ghana and Niger, who said the case was a difficult one to crack.

“He also asked me whether I wanted my brother or the car,” she said, adding that under the circumstance she had no other option than to plead for her brother’s life.



Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
 
 
 
Source: daily Graphic
 
 

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