A Cape Coast Circuit Court has sentenced a 29-year-old Prison Officer at the Ankaful Maximum Security Prisons, Lance Corporal Abibulai Nankpa, to 13 years imprisonment for possession of 16 parcels of cannabis without lawful authority.
Lance Corporal Nankpa pleaded not guilty to both charges, but after full trial, he was found guilty by the Court presided over by Mrs. Afia Adu-Amankwa.
He looked stunned and later wept profusely as he left behind an 18-month-old baby boy and a young wife in her mid- 20s, when the police whisked him away.
Prosecuting, State Attorney Mr. Vincent Nyinaku, said the complainant, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Benedict Osie Tawiah, and two witnesses, Lance Corporal An-Ire Hagan and Lance Corporal John Sackey were on guard duty at the area immediately behind the Prisons compound, on Friday, August 5, 2016.
He said at about 8:00 hours, a thudding sound drew L/Cpl Hagan’s attention making him to proceed to establish what was causing the sound. Upon reaching the point where the noise was coming from, he saw a split pack wrapped with leaves jetting out of the split pack, which alerted him to call L/Cpl Sackey who was also on duty nearby.
This prompted them to call the complainant on wireless to comb the area in different directions to find out the source of the packaged leaves.
Mr Nyinaku said L/Cpl Sackey gave a warning shot and called L/Cpl Hagan to where they saw the accused and ordered him to come out but he refused to avail himself. Another shot was fired before he came out and immediately pounced on L/Cpl Sackey in an attempt to unarmed him, which prompted Hagan to shoot the accused in the groin area.
The victim was rushed to the Hospital where he was treated and discharged after three weeks on admission.
According to the State Attorney, a further search in the bush where L/Cpl Nankpa was hiding uncovered a black polythene bag with several parcels of wrapped leaves close to the prison wall and inside the prison wall.
He said ASP Osie Tawiah reported the incident to the Police at Elmina where investigations established that L/Cpl Nankpa stood outside the prison wall and hurled the parcels of leaves with the aim of getting them out of the wall.
The investigations also revealed that it was when the parcel hit the wall and dropped back that prompted L/Cpl Hagan to investigate, however, the police eventually found 16 parcels of dry leaves which tested positive for cannabis, a narcotic drug, at the forensic laboratory.
Mr Nyinaku further told the Court that L/Cpl Nankpa during investigations explained to the Police that on the day of the incident, he was on his way back from the Psychiatric Hospital through the bush path behind the prison wall when he heard a gunshot where he was ordered to stop, and a searched on him produced his mobile phone.