The Yemeni Nationals who were being tried by an Accra Circuit Court for possession of forged documents have changed their earlier plea of not guilty to a plea of guilty.
The Accused persons were convicted on their own plea.
Pleading for mitigation, counsel for the Accused persons, Dominic Owusu Sekyere said that the Yemeni Nationals had been in lawful custody for almost five months whilst the case was being tried. The Lawyer also pleaded that the Accused persons were first time offenders in Ghana, adding that they were from a war-torn country (Yemen) hence the Court should deal with them leniently.
In sentencing, the Court took into consideration the Accused persons’ Counsel plea for mitigation and the fact that they were in custody while the case was being tried.
The Yemeni Nationals were sentenced to a fine of GH 4,800.00 cedis (four hundred penalty units) each and in default of the fine, they will serve a three-month jail term each.
The court, presided over by His Honour, Aboagye Tandoh ordered that the fake French passports which were retrieved by the Prosecution from the Accused persons must be destroyed by the Ghana Immigration Service in the presence of the court Registrar three months after the Accused persons had met the fine conditions or served their three month jail term to avoid any legal implication that might arise in the process.
The Presiding Judge asserted that the Accused persons Yemeni passports must be handed over to them after they
had paid their fines or served their jail terms and must also be deported to their country (Yemen).
His Honour also hailed the vigilance of the Immigration Officers which resulted in the arrest of the Accused persons.
The Accused persons are Esmail Yahya, Gaafar Issah Al-Marrani and Al-Gaish, all students whilst the fourth Accused, Eissa Yahya Amer is a businessman. The first, second and the third Accused persons were charged with forgery of official documents and possession of forged documents whilst the fourth Accused was charged with the offence of fake emergency entry visa but they pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the Police when they made their first appearance in court on November 2015 hence were remanded into lawful custody while the case was being tried.
Earlier, Counsel for the Accused persons filed an application of no case after the State had ended its case (prosecution) against the Accused persons. The Presiding Judge ruled on the application, asserting that the Prosecution was not able to adduce enough evidence against the fourth Accused. The fourth Accused, Eissa Yahya Amer was therefore acquitted and discharged by the court on the offence of fake emergency entry visa.
Background to the case
Narrating the facts of the case, the Prosecutor, DSP Dery said that the Accused persons, Esmail Yahya, Gaafar Issah Al-Marrani and Al-Gaish are students whilst the fourth Accused, Eissa Yahya Amer (who
was acquitted and discharged by the Court) is a businessman. He added that the Accused persons are Yemeni Nationals on board Ethiopian Airline Flight ET 920 that arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana.
The Police also told the court that whilst the Accused persons were undergoing immigration arrival procedures, the first, second and the third Accused persons were found with French passports with different names, adding that a further search conducted on their persons revealed that the four Accused persons in addition had in their possession, Yemeni passports.
The Prosecution asserted that when the French passports were examined, it revealed that all the three French passports which bore different names were fake. He reiterated that during investigation, the Accused persons mentioned one Abdulai Mohammed in Yemen as the one who secured the French passports for them and gave them a phone number to contact a certain Mohammed soon on arrival in Ghana.
DSP Dery further informed the court that the Accused persons were to transit in Ghana and continue to French to Istanbul in Turkey, stating that a further examination on their Yemeni passports indicated that the first and second Accused persons initially travelled to Djibouti on several occasions before their trip to Ghana.