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Presiding Officer arrested for stealing verification machine
From: Ghana | Daily Graphic          Published On: December 19, 2012, 05:26 GMT
 
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Presiding Officer arrested for stealing verification machine
The Goaso Circuit Court in the Asunafo North municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region has remanded in prison custody the Presiding Officer (PO) of the Bediako CMB Shed Polling Station, near Mim, for allegedly stealing a biometric verification device used for the just-ended polls.

The accused person, Samuel Owusu Sarpong, 56, the Headmaster of Pentecostal Basic School, also at Bediako, was remanded together with Esther Annor, the wife of an accomplice in the case, Kofi Annor, a polling station assistant, who had gone together with Sarpong to hand over the electoral materials in the custody of her husband to the police, where they were arrested on December 16, 2012 and put before the court.

Kofi Annor is now at large and he is being sought for by the police.

Sarpong pleaded not guilty to the counts of conspiracy to commit crime, stealing and abetment of crime, while Esther pleaded guilty to the charge of aiding and abetment.

They will reappear before the court, presided over by Mr Justice Osei Kwame Gyamfi, on December 31, 2012.

Prosecuting, Detective Chief Inspector Francis Azamboe told the court that on December 7, 2012, the complainant in the case distributed electoral materials to various polling stations in the Asunafo North municipality for the presidential and parliamentary polls in which Sarpong was the Presiding Officer at the Bediako CMB Shed Polling Station.

The prosecutor said about 4.30 p.m. on December 10, 2011, while the complainant was cross-checking the biometric verification devices serially whether all the materials were intact, he realized that one of the devices, with number 58 of 147 and serial number 4023915758, which had been allocated to the CMB Shed Polling Station where Sarpong was the presiding officer was nowhere to be found.

He said Sarpong was called to the EC office at Goaso for questioning and he told the officers that the materials had been sent to the police station and the police officer had handed them over to the returning officer, who is a witness in the case.

Chief Inspector Azamboe said the complainant, together with the other officials, including Sarpong, then went through the document and it came to light that the particular device was not in the office.

He said the complainant summoned all the crew and handed them to the police in Mim for investigations and, upon interrogation, it was revealed that after the counting of the ballot on voting day, the accused failed to declare the results, resulting in tempers flaring.

The prosecutor said police vehicle was dispatched to convey the materials to the charge office and Sarpong packed the materials into the vehicle. But after making a series of phone calls, he unpacked the materials from the vehicle and handed the ballot boxes to his accomplice, Kofi Annor.

Chief Inspector Azamboe said after the police vehicle left, Sarpong promised to follow up to the police station but he failed to do so and he was later traced and arrested.

He said on December 14, 2012, the accused was granted police enquiry bail to return on December 17, 2012 but on December 16,2012 Esther brought the electoral materials to him and both she and Sarpong were rearrested at the police station with the electoral materials and charged with the offences.


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