Seven Nigerians allegedly belonging to an organised criminal group have been arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.
The suspects, Osas Vincent, Kennedy Anthony, Godson Iyan Inye, Junior Ayala Ariyo, Desmond Johnson, Andrew Gabriel and Ebedebi Ayaye Friday, who were busted by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), have been slapped with 24 counts of human trafficking, assault, and participating in organised crime.
Meanwhile, the leader and eighth suspect of the group, Williams Ogbemuda Idemudia, is on the run.
Appearing before the court presided over by Rosemond Baah Tosu, the suspects denied all charges against them, and have been remanded to re-appear on October 17, 2022.
Counsel for the accused persons, Theophilus Donkor, in his bail application, said there was no evidence before the court to prove that when granted bail, his clients would flout the bail conditions.
He added that his clients had fixed places of abode, reminding the court that the constitution did not discriminate against nationality.
The bail application was opposed by the prosecution, led by the Head of Legal and Prosecution, EOCO, Abu Issah.
The presiding judge subsequently remanded the suspects on grounds that counsel had failed to demonstrate that his clients had fixed places of abode.
The prosecutor said on August 29, 2022, EOCO received an email from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria requesting the intervention of the Office in the rescue of some Nigerian victims of trafficking who were being exploited for Cyber-crime purposes, as well as possible arrest and prosecution.
He told the court that investigations revealed that the eight accused persons were part of an organised criminal group, with all the members being Nigerian nationals, acting in concert to commit the offence of human trafficking.
Investigations further revealed that the group is partly based in Nigeria and Ghana.
The prosecutor further noted that investigations established that Idemudia recruited Nigerian nationals from various states in Nigeria and transported them to Ghana by exploiting their vulnerability of being unemployed with a promise to offer them jobs.
However, upon arrival in Ghana, the recruits were received and detained without their consent at Manhean, Obeyeyie by the seven accused persons who trained and engaged them in Internet fraud.
“It is in light of the above facts that the suspects have been arraigned before this Honourable Court for prosecution,” the prosecutor told the court.