PHOTO: Osu Robber Gets 45 Years

SALU ABU, a 23-year-old second-hand clothes dealer, will spend 40 years of his remaining years on earth in prison for attempting to rob a forex bureau at Osu in November last year. The convict was found guilty on two counts of possessing firearms without lawful authority and attempted robbery after a full trial at an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Francis Obiri. The convict reportedly stormed the bureau with a pistol, ready to rob and had even attempted killing the cashier on duty. Before he was sentenced, Salu, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, asked the court to deal leniently with him as he had regretted his action. In his judgment, the trial judge observed that the prosecution, led by Chief Superintendent Duuti Tuaruka, was able to prove the guilt of the accused after calling in three witnesses. The judge disclosed that Salu gave a statement to the police admitting to the offence when he was arrested. However, when he appeared in court, he denied the charges, saying he only went to the bureau to exchange money. According to Salu, when he got there, the bureau was closed so he decided to leave the place. However, while going to sit on his motorbike, he heard people shouting ‘thief, thief’ and he was later arrested. Afterthought Plea The judge however observed that his denial in the dock was an afterthought and that the “confession statement” he gave the police was enough ground to convict him. Mr. Obiri stated that even though the minimum punishment for attempted robbery is 10 years, “I don’t think the society will need him with them for such a short time. Though he is young, his intention was to rob and kill. He did not show any mercy and therefore does not deserve mercy from me.” The judge, who observed that robbery was on the increase and had become a national problem, sentenced Salu to five years on the charge of possession of firearm and 40 years for attempted robbery. The sentences are to run concurrently. According to the judge, Salu deserved a harsher punishment which would serve as a deterrent to others. The facts of the case are that the complainant, Robert Eghan Asiedu, is a cashier at Quick Pick Forex Bureau situated at Osu and Salu is an unemployed man who lives at Sukura in Accra. According to Tuaruka, on November 1, 2012 at about 7:30am, Salu went to Quick Pick Forex bureau at Osu under the pretext of changing money and suddenly pointed a pistol at the complainant ordering him to surrender all currencies to him. The complainant reportedly obliged and was about to hand over the money to the convict when he shot at the complainant. The complainant luckily escaped but gathered courage and held Salu. The convict, sensing danger, fired a second shot but again missed the complainant. The complainant, according to the prosecutor, struggled with Salu over the pistol and managed to take it from him. The convict took to his heels and the complainant raised the alarm. Some witnesses and passers-by chased Salu and arrested him. They later handed him over to the Osu Police Station for questioning. The convict, according to Salu, admitted to the offence in his statement and after investigations, he was charged with the offence and put before court.