Nigerian Pirates Docket for A-G

The pirates leaving the court
Prosecution in the trial of the 10 pirates suspected to have hijacked M.t. Mariam marine oil tanker in nigeria has said a copy of the case docket had been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department for advice.

Chief Inspector Patrick Hanson told an Adjabeng magistrate court in Accra yesterday that prosecution was waiting the advice in respect of the trial.

The prosecution had at the last adjourned date substituted the charge sheet of the case to include two Ghanaians – George Opata Okrah, freight forwarder and Joel Yaw Attah, shipping agent.

The other accused persons are Molih Williams, Molih Klinsman, Peggy Aki, Ebiyaibo Amos, David Jacobs, Ayetimili Onyile, Pinano Saniyo and Picolo John – all unemployed.

The police have also intensified their search for one Captain Mike and Abaiyi, both sailors who are currently on the run.

They are each facing a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit crime and piracy.

According to the prosecution, the accused persons on January 17, 2015 at Tema, near Accra, by force of arms seized the said commercial marine vessel (tanker) flying the flag of Nigeria under the charge of one captain Chris Ohuoha.

Nigerian Lawyer ’Missing’
Interestingly, at the hearing of the case yesterday, Uche Nwosu, counsel for the eight Nigerians who had been ‘fighting’ the prosecution to make an order compelling the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to allow the accused persons access to their lawyers as well as their relatives, was not in court.

James Odartey Mills and Raynold Twumasi, lawyers for Opatah and Attah respectively, did not also hold brief for him (Nwosu).

Second Bail Attempt
In the case of Attah, Mr. Twumasi, repeating his bail application for his client, said he had not had any difficulty accessing his client in the custody of the BNI.

He prayed the court to grant his client bail because he (Attah) was unwell and that the facts before the court did not support the charge.

Mr. Twumasi said Attah had not been mentioned as among the persons on the ship at the time of the incident.

Mr. Odartey Mills, lawyer for Opatah, stated that the facts did not support the charges preferred against his client, insisting that the accused did not know what happened on the high seas in relation to the case.

He said his client, who was earlier granted police inquiry bail, had been in the custody of the police for the past 17 days – a situation he claimed was affecting Opatah’s little children.

According to Opatah’s lawyer, the continuous remand of his client was a breach of his human rights, especially when Opatah was not found with any gun or was anywhere near the people found with the guns.

Chief Inspector Hanson, in opposing the bail application, said the said captain of the ship contacted Opatah and Attah, a reason why the lawyers for the two could not say their clients must be granted bail.

He prayed the court to remand the accused persons until investigations were over.

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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