A Circuit Court in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Capital, has granted a 30-year-old house-help, Esther Katibu a Forty Ghana cedis (GHS 40,000) bail pending her trial for stealing. The court charged Esther for stealing and accordingly remanded her into police custody after her boss, the Chief Executive Officer of the Taabea Group of Companies, Dr Christian Akwasi Agyeman reported her to the police at Jericho, a suburb of Kumasi for allegedly stealing three mobile phones and a laptop computer belonging to him.
The boyfriend of the accused, James Wasawu told crimecheckghana, that Esther informed him that her boss returned from work one dawn and found out that his three mobile phones and a laptop computer had been stolen from his locker. Mr Agyeman accused Esther of the theft because, according to him, his CCTV video captured Esther around the scene where the items were kept, though he did not see her taking them.
Esther, James said, maintains that she was already asleep when her boss came home that fateful day, and that, she had no knowledge of the code to the safe that contained the missing items. Mr. Agyeman however, does not believe this claim because, according to James, “Esther is in charge of cleaning the house and bathing the children.” To Mr. Agyeman, therefore, Esther might have cleaned the area where the stolen items were kept and was possibly captured by the CCTV when she was carrying out her normal chores in the house.” James claimed.
Esther was arrested together with the security man of the house who was later released after police interrogation. Esther was however, detained. At the time she contacted James, her lover with whom she had a child, she had already spent two weeks in custody. James said, subsequent efforts to contact Esther have been unsuccessful, as the police have denied access to her. “When she was taken to court, she pleaded not guilty. The court then granted her GHS 40,000 bail to be justified with a land title or car documents. “How can a house help meet such a bail condition”, he cried.
James indicated that Esther does not have a lawyer to represent her because she cannot afford their services, and there is no way she can satisfy the bail condition. This is why she is continuously been kept in police custody.
While Crime Check Ghana cannot vouch for the innocence of Esther, the organization notes that, remanding suspects for a long period prior to their trial does not only violate their human rights, but the situation is a major contributor to congestion in prisons and a blot in the justice delivery system in the country.
Crime Check Ghana is following up on this story under the USAID Justice Sector Support Activity (JSSA). The JSSA is an intervention that seeks to reinforce efforts by the US Government to enhance Ghana’s justice delivery system by increasing Citizen Oversight and Monitoring of Criminal Cases, increasing citizen knowledge and access to Justice Sector services and strengthening advocacy for accountability of key justice sector institutions for improved justice delivery in Ghana.
The many others whose rights have been abused or may have become victims of similar circumstances may contact the JSSA helpline 0203799978 for redress.