Rita Quayeson, a sister of one of the girls kidnapped in Takoradi in 2018, has told a Sekondi High Court that she listened to her sister cry when her kidnappers contacted her family to demand for a ransom.
Giving her testimony on Wednesday, September 4,2020, Rita Quayeson said the kidnappers of her younger sister, Ruth Love Quayeson, called her mother using her sisters’ phone to inform the family that they had kidnapped her.
She further told the court presided over by Justice Richard Adjei-Frimpong that in the phone call, begged her family to find GH¢500 for the kidnappers so she could be released.
“My mom gave the phone to me, so I was the one who spoke to her. She told me the kidnapper was demanding GH¢500 ransom. My sister was crying as she spoke,” she narrated to the court.
The Fifth prosecution witness in the case told the court that her sister left home for the MTN office in Takoradi Market Circle on December 4, 2018.
Before the kidnap
Rita Quayson said her sister, before leaving home, told her [Rita] and her mother that there was a job opening at the MTN office which she was going after.
She told the court that Ruth Love went out in the company of her friend, Stacy, who is their next-door neighbor at Diabene, near Takoradi.
She said her sister later called around 1 p.m. to inform her mother that she had been taken by kidnappers.
Rita said her mother gave the phone to her after speaking to her sister and asked another sister of theirs, Rebecca Quayson, to go to the police station and report the matter.
“My mother also asked me to call our pastor who was already in Takoradi for a meeting. My sister and the pastor met at the police station and made the report,” she added.
Rita added that, when Stacy (Ruth Love’s friend) returned home, she told them that a number saved as Sammy N/F kept calling Ruth Love’s phone when she was with her.
“Stacy said while Ruth Love was bathing, a number which was saved as Sammy N/F called several times and that while they were in a car going, the same number kept on calling so Ruth Love had to get down from the ‘trotro’ between a place called BU and Nkroful Junction,” the witness told the court.
Kidnapper mounts pressure on family
According to Rita, she went ahead to give the police that information and a police CID called Ametepey asked her go to the police station and give a statement which they did.
She further recounted that her mother received another call from the alleged kidnapper who called with her sister’s number and “because my mom’s phone was put on loud speaker I could hear the kidnapper demanding more money before he would release my sister.”
“The person who called was a male. Immediately, I called Mr. Ametepey to inform him about all that the kidnapper had said. The CID told us not to send any huge amount and so I sent GH¢100 through my sister’s MTN number on the instructions of the kidnapper,” she told the court.
The witness told the court that on the morning of the next day which was December 5, 2020, “the kidnapper called my mother and asked for a GH¢10,000 ransom but my mother told him she did not have that amount and the kidnapper asked my mom to pay GH¢8,000.”
“We decided to go back to the police station and on our way the kidnapper kept calling and repeated his demand for the ransom. When we got to the police station the CID told us that the best thing to do in that situation was to get the call list on Ruth Love’s phone,” she added.
BNI takes over case
The witness said the CID officer working on the case explained to them that they needed a court order to access the call log of her sister’s phone. She said the officer later asked for financial assistance to enable him process for the court order and so he was given GH¢200.
Rita Quayson told the court that the CID officer told them to inform the kidnapper that arrangements were being made for the money if he ever called them again.
She, however, said the order for the call list was delaying hence she sought the assistance of the BNI, who later assisted in getting the call list.
Three consistent numbers & SMS from kidnappers
Rita revealed while communicating with the kidnappers, the family took note of three numbers which were consistent and so was given to the police for further investigations.
She said they received an SMS from the kidnapper the next day which read, “You want to joke with us right?” adding that the message has since remained on her phone.
She said another message came in the evening which read, “Your daughter is sick; you better pay so that she can come back home.”
Following the call, she said the kidnapper demanded the ransom again to which she noted that the conversation was recorded and forwarded to the CID officer.
She said her phone later became faulty and so she called the kidnapper with her pastor’s phone and informed him arrangement was being made for the money to be paid.
“…So one Sunday, the kidnapper called the pastor’s number and our pastor managed to send him GH¢500. So later, the police called to inform us that someone had been arrested in connection with the kidnapping.
Alleged kidnapper arrested
“When we went to the Takoradi Central Police Station we realized from the accent that Samuel Udoetuk Wills who was arrested, was the one who demanded the ransom,” she pointed out.
Rita indicated that after the arrest, the call to demand ransom stopped but resumed after the suspect escaped from police custody.
She said sometime in January 2019, the police made a discovery of skeletal remains at the uncompleted building at Nkroful, the exact place the prime suspect in the case, Samuel Udoetuk Wills, was rearrested after escaping custody.
She said the police later took samples of her mother and herself for the DNA testing and added that the Inspector General of Police held a press conference in Accra and announced that the test conducted confirmed that the skeletal remains belonged to the missing girls “including my sister.”
During a cross examination of the witness, counsel for the suspect, Mark Bosia, of the Legal Aid Board, asked the witness, “the first time you met Samuel Wills was at the Takoradi Police Station, right?” and she answered in the affirmative.
The lawyer again asked, “What was so unique about the voice?” to which she answered, “the person spoke broken Twi and English with a Nigerian accent and used the same accent when he was before the Takoradi Magistrate Court for causing damage and escaping from custody.”
Lawyer Mark Bosia then asked the witness “I suggest to you that the alleged kidnapper never spoke Twi in court and that it was your own opinion.”
The witness then responded “He spoke broken Twi and I have recorded his voice on phone.”
The court will sit on Monday September 7, 2020 for hearing to continue.