The convicts — Kate Appiah (hairdresser), Emmanuel Ampabeng, 34; Kofi Gyima, 32; Kofi Nti, 30; Kwadwo Owusu, 30, and Richard Kwabena Kyere, 28 — were slapped with the jail terms after they were convicted on two counts of conspiracy to rob and robbery.
On May 12, 2016, the robbers, wielding guns, attacked the Petroland Fuel Station at Nkoranza in Kumasi, subjected one of the attendants to severe beatings and tied the security man on duty before taking a safe containing GH¢11,200 and a car battery.
It was also established that it was the same robbery gang that attacked a cement shop at Asenua, also in Kumasi, on May 25, 2016, making away with a safe containing GH¢6,583 and also causing harm to the security man on duty.
The court slapped Gyima, Nti and Owusu with a 25-year jail terms each, while Ampabeng and Kyere will each serve 20 years in prison. Kate Appiah was given three years on the basis that she was a young offender.
The court, presided over by Mrs Mary Nsenkyire, ordered her to serve her sentence in a juvenile correctional centre.
All the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them, but the court ruled that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
In delivering her judgement, Mrs Nsenkyire said the sentences were to serve as a deterrent to armed robbers who had decided to create insecurity in Kumasi and the country as whole.
She described the method adopted by the robbers to perpetrate their scheme as “disturbing”.
According to the facts of the case, as presented to the court by Chief Inspector Hannah Acheampong, the convicts were arrested at their hideouts at Kromoase in Kumasi on June 24, 2016 after a thorough investigation by the Ashanti Regional Police Command, in collaboration with the Accra Regional Command.
She said the robbers had, for some time, been terrorising residents of Kumasi and were responsible for a wide range of criminal activities in the metropolis.
A search conducted on them revealed that they were in possession of three cars — a Ford, a Toyota Corolla and a black BMW — believed to have been used for their operations.
The police also retrieved from a nearby bush three safe boxes.