“We as families are ruling out any possibility of our girls being dead. We are optimistic of seeing our girls alive and safe as said early on acclaimed by the National Security Minister, the Interior Minister and the Director, CID of the Ghana Police Service,” a spokesperson of the families, Mr Michael Larbi Koranchie, said at a press conference.
At the press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Koranchie said the actions of the police in unravelling the whereabouts of the girls who went missing between August and December 2018, seemed to suggest that they were in a hurry to bring closure to the case.
“The police should tell us if they are fed up with the investigations rather than informing us about any possibility of the girls declared dead after the discovery of some human skulls and other skeletons,” Mr Koranchie said.
Despite their insistence that their daughters were still alive, the three families reiterated the fact that they were ready to cooperate with the police with the forensic test on the three remains retrieved, only if they would be made to appoint their own independent experts.
Mr Koranchie explained that their call for an independent test stemmed from the fact that the families were not ready to be cajoled into believing that the remains are the three girls after the DNA test.
“Many things have been told us by the police and most of them have turned out to be untrue, so we want an independent expert to handle the test, if we have to cooperate. That is the only condition for us to lend our support to find whose remains have been retrieved.
“What becomes of the statements made at different times by the Director CID, the National Security Minister and the Interior Minister that the girls are alive and safe? Are they trying to bring down the credibility of the above-mentioned offices?”
The spokesperson for the families described as untrue claims that the families delayed for months before making a report on their missing daughters to the law enforcement agencies.
“We want to use this opportunity to clarify that the time various cases were reported to the police were within hours after finding out that our daughters had gone missing,” he said.
In the case of Priscilla Blessing Bentum, Mr Koranchie said upon realising she hadn’t returned from church service on August 17, 2018, “the family searched for her and when their efforts proved futile, the matter was immediately reported to the police early morning of August 18 the same year,” he said.
In the case of Ruth Love Quayson, upon receiving the sad call around 1:40pm on December 4, 2018 informing the family about her kidnap, they immediately lodged a complaint at the Takoradi Central Market (Market Circle) Police Station.
“We were later referred to the Takoradi Central District Police Command, where we made an official report around 2:45p.m.
For the third victim, Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, the family received a call at 3:30p.m. on December 21, 2018, and almost immediately rushed to the Anaji Police Station in Takoradi at about 4:15p.m. to report.
“We dare anyone who doubts that we reported to the police early enough to verify from the various
diaries of the police stations mentioned,” a clearly unhappy Mr Koranchie indicated.
Police approved ransom
“On the payment of ransom to the kidnappers, we also want to place on record that the police gave us the green light to send the monies to the kidnappers via various mobile money platforms and then bring to them the phone numbers to which the monies were sent,” the families revealed.
Questions for the police
Mr Koranchie also explained that the police had chosen when to deal with them with regard to updating them on the development, a reason they had decided not to cooperate with them on the DNA test.
He said the families were unhappy that when the police decided to conduct the operation at Kansaworodo, the families were not informed and they had to find out from tertiary sources after the operation.
“As a result, we, the families, want to ask the police some questions and to spell out our reasons why we don’t want to avail ourselves for a DNA test until the police clarify some questions,” he said.
“Are the police telling us that they made no search initially when Samuel Willis was arrested? We also want to ask: Who would testify that the said remains were retrieved from the said cesspit, since all civilians were driven away from the scene when the operation was conducted?”
Though they were aware that transfer of officers was at the prerogative of the police, the families also wanted to know why the Takoradi District Commander and the investigator who had in-depth knowledge about the kidnapping cases were transferred all of a sudden.
“We want the police to come clear on why the then Takoradi District Police Commander, Mr Peter Ofori Donkor, and the investigator, Mr Ametepe, who knew the depth of the development with regard to the kidnapping were transferred,” the families spokesperson said.
Call for support
The families also made an appeal to the President, the First Lady, the Network for Women Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), Child’s Rights International and all civil society organisations to intervene in the unfolding case.
He said: “As we sleep, we dream tomorrow will replace today with a chance of beholding the beautiful faces and smiles of our lovely girls to fill our dropping souls with joy.”