How a Police Officer Became a Robber: The Shocking Story of Ex-RSM Jack Bebli

Russell Nketiah Tannor

How a Police Officer Became a Robber: The Shocking Story of Jack Bebli

The Rise and Fall of Ex-RSM Jack Bebli: How a Police Officer Became Ghana's Most Notorious Robber

Jack Bebli was once a respected and feared police officer who served as the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the defunct Commando (Panther) Unit of the Ghana Police Service in the 1980s and 90s. He was known for his strict discipline, bravery, and loyalty to the revolutionary regime of Jerry Rawlings. But behind his uniform, he was also a ruthless and cunning robber who terrorized Accra residents and orchestrated one of the biggest heists in Ghana's history.

Jack Bebli's criminal career began during the turbulent times of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) era, when human rights abuses, arbitrary killings, and corruption were rampant. He used his position and influence to recruit and train a gang of police and military officers who would carry out robberies under his command. He also had connections with some influential politicians and businessmen who provided him with information, protection, and resources.

One of Jack Bebli's notorious operations was to block the stretch from Kinbu school to the Fire service traffic light in Accra and rob anyone who passed by. He and his armed men would wear military uniforms and pretend to be conducting a security check. They would then demand money, valuables, and documents from their unsuspecting victims. No one dared to challenge or resist them, as they were well aware of Jack Bebli's reputation and power.

But Jack Bebli's greed and ambition led him to plan and execute what would become known as 'the biggest robbery' in Ghana. In 1999, he and his seven accomplices targeted a bullion van that was transporting GH¢240 million worth of gold bars from Tarkwa to Accra. They followed the van from Yamoransa junction in the Central Region until they reached Abotsia, near Apam junction, on the Cape Coast-Accra Road. There, they ambushed the van, fired shots, assaulted the drivers and escorts, and made away with the gold bars.

However, Jack Bebli's luck ran out when he was arrested by the police shortly after the robbery. He was identified by one of his former colleagues who recognized him from his voice and mannerisms. He was also betrayed by some of his accomplices who confessed to their involvement in exchange for leniency. He was charged with robbery with violence, conspiracy to commit robbery, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and impersonation of a public officer.

Jack Bebli's trial was one of the most sensational and controversial cases in Ghana's history. He pleaded not guilty and claimed that he was framed by his enemies. He also accused some high-ranking officials of being behind the robbery and demanded that they be brought to justice. He alleged that he was tortured and coerced into confessing by the police. He challenged the evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecution. He appealed for bail several times but was denied.

Jack Bebli's fate was sealed when he was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging by a Fast Track High Court in 2002. He appealed against his conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal, but his appeal was dismissed in 2004. He then petitioned the Supreme Court for a review of his case, but his petition was also dismissed in 2006. He finally exhausted all his legal options when his application for presidential pardon was rejected by President John Kufuor in 2007.

Jack Bebli was executed by hanging at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison on August 27, 2007. He was 52 years old. He died as he lived: defiant, unrepentant, and fearless. He maintained his innocence until the end and refused to apologize or beg for mercy. He said that he had no regrets and that he was proud of what he had done. He said that he was a hero who fought for justice and freedom against oppression and tyranny.

Jack Bebli's story is a tragic tale of how a police officer turned into a robber, how a patriot turned into a traitor, how a hero turned into a villain. It is a story that exposes the dark side of Ghana's revolutionary era, when lawlessness, violence, and corruption prevailed. It is a story that raises questions about the role and responsibility of the police force, the judiciary system, and the political leadership in ensuring peace, security, and accountability in Ghana.


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