Police officers who allegedly assaulted residents of Ekpu, a fishing community near Half Assini in the Jomoro constituency of the Western Region on Tuesday, were on a revenge mission, Member of Parliament for Jomoro Paul Essien has asserted.
Onua 95.1Fm broke the story about the police’s invasion of Ekpu in the early hours of Tuesday amidst indiscriminate shooting in what the Assemblyman for the area Peter Miezah described as a “hostage situation”.
Reacting to the action of the security agency on Onua FM, Mr. Essien who is also the Deputy Minister-designate for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs said he will not stop at anything until justice is served the people of Ekpu.
About 50 residents were arrested following the ‘invasion’ of the town. The Western Regional Commander DCOP Kwasi Mensah-Duku said the dawn operation was in connection with an earlier attack by the youth of the area on the police station two weeks ago.
Although the Western Regional Commander said the operation recorded zero casualties, the Member of Parliament for the area has refuted the claim.
Paul Essien told host of Onua FM morning show Bright Kwesi Asempa that the commander was not being truthful.
“They intentionally went to the town to brutalize the people in revenge. A disable man on his wheel chair was beaten mercilessly so how can they say there was no casualty?” he asked lividly.
The Deputy Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs stressed that he will use every legal means to seek justice, adding that his legal team has petitioned the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for investigations into the matter.
Below is the petition.
Our Ref.: CLG/AKA/AKA/2017/0016 11th April, 2017
The Inspector-General of Police
Ghana Police Service
National Headquarters, Accra.
PETITION FOR INTERVENTION AND FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS
We act for Madam Mary Yankey and Mr. John Akossey Addo, surviving spouse and head of family respectively of Mr. Assuah Buah, late of Ekpu who died under some bizarre circumstances in police custody, and hold their collective instructions to write this petition to your high office praying that you may be pleased, in the interest of justice, to intervene and conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the untimely death of Mr. Assuah Buah.
Our instructions are that on or about Sunday 26th March 2017, Mr. Assuah Buah, hereinafter called the deceased, was arrested by the Half Assini police on the promptings or at the instigation of a woman who had earlier lodged a complaint with the police that the deceased had been found in possession of a shirt believed to have been stolen from the said woman. The arrest, we are instructed, was on the strength of a tip-off made to the said woman by one Buah Beneah to the effect that she had purchased a shirt from the deceased and she was convinced that the shirt was among the items believed to have been stolen from the said woman. We are further instructed that upon his arrest, the police at Half-Assini, especially one Aaron, believed to be the paramour of the woman, subjected the deceased to such physical abuse that he gave up his life.
The historical antecedents to the unfortunate incident, as we are instructed, are that somewhere in December 2016 a woman (whose name is not readily available) believed to be a dealer in the sale of clothes (boutique owner) lodged a complaint with the Half-Assini police that some of her stock of wares or clothes had been stolen by unknown persons. After some period of investigations by the police, one Elvis was arrested and subsequently arraigned before the court on the relevant charges under the law. We are informed that Elvis pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against him and was accordingly convicted on his own plea and sentenced. Elvis is currently serving his sentence in jail.
Our clients aver that on that fateful Sunday, the deceased was met wearing a particular shirt by the said Buah Beneah who expressed her feigned desire of purchasing same. We are told that the de ceased readily agreed and sold the shirt to Madam Buah Beneah for ten Ghana cedis (GHc10.00). We concede on behalf of our clients that the circumstances under which this transaction was made may raise some suspicions; for it is very inconceivable that a person would remove his shirt and sell it in the street in the circumstances we have described. However, his conduct is explainable by the fact that the deceased led a loose and lackadaisical life and habitually disposed of his personal effects in the manner described above. Indeed, we believe that it is acknowledgement of this fact that the said Buah Bennieh offered to buy the shirt in this manner. Be that as it may, there has not been any proof that the said shirt was part of the stolen items.
We are instructed that apparently by reason of the circumstances under which the shirt was sold by the deceased, the said Buah Beneah went to the Boutique Owner to inform her that she had found one of her stolen items on the deceased and presented the shirt as evidence of the deceased?s possible complicity in the crime committed earlier on her. We are informed that armed with this piece of ?evidence? the Boutique Owner made a fresh report at the Half Assini police station for the arrest of the deceased. Our clients allege that Aaron, one of the policemen, who is alleged to be in a relationship with the Boutique Owner, was goaded into action by that relationship and he quickly assumed control of the case. He dispatched one Opare to effect the arrest of the deceased. After his arrest, Aaron took over the investigation and took the deceased to his room conduct a search; nothing was found to suggest that he had in his possession any of the items stolen from the Boutique Woman.
We are instructed that despite the scantiness of the evidence, the police decided to keep him in custody. The Assemblyman of the area and other prominent persons went to the police to ask for bail. However, try as they did, the police would not budge. Meanwhile, the said Aaron kept subjecting the deceased to such inhuman treatment and indignity that it led a few people who visited the police to be asking why the deceased was being so cruelly treated. His answer to these innocent queries was that the deceased was an armed robber. The deceased was kept in custody until he died on Tuesday 28th March 2017.
Our instructions are that in the evening of that fateful Tuesday, the wife went to the police station around 4pm to present food to the deceased but the police kept asking her to wait. She waited in obedience for about an hour when she realised that a person completely wrapped with a cloth was being whisked into a waiting van; she could sense that the person being carried was dead; little did she know that it was her husband. In the final analysis, the police did not allow her to give the food to her husband so she returned without even seeing the deceased. The wife then went to tell the family members that the police had prevented her from seeing her husband and had even refused to allow her to serve him any food. Within the same period, some family members also went to the police station ostensibly to visit the deceased; it was at this time that they received some intelligence that the deceased had passed away.
Our clients instruct that armed with this piece of ominous information, the family members and other willing sympathisers went to the police station early the next day to seek answers from the police about the whereabouts of the deceased. The police fraudulently informed the family members that the deceased was ill; he had therefore been taken to the Half-Assini Government Hospital where he was on admission. The people followed up to the hospital but the deceased was nowhere to be found. They inquired from the hospital authorities if any person had been rushed there ill by the police. In response, the medical superintendent informed them that no sick person had been brought there by the police; on the contrary, the medical officer informed them that the police rather brought in a corpse which had been put in the mortuary. With full knowledge that the police were lying to them, the community became incensed and regrettably rushed back and vandalised the police station.
At this time, the Member of Parliament of the area, Honourable Paul Essien, who was on his way to a programme in the constituency chanced on the irate crowd and was led by the volatile situation to intervene. He spoke to the people to remain calm. They obeyed and went home. In attendance at this meeting were the Divisional Police Commander, the BNI Officer, the District Coordinating Director and the District Crime Officer. Later, the Regional Commander and his team including the MP visited the Ekpu community to talk to them. It was after these events that the police formally went to inform the family of the death of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the police officers at Half Assini were circulating the propaganda message that the deceased was beaten to death by the inmates. The Regional Police Commander assured the community that the police administration would delve into the matter and punish the person who caused that assault, believing then that the deceased died as a result of assault on him by the inmates. In the meantime it is instructive to state that our clients have given us copies of the autopsy report which also confirms that the deceased died as a result multiple assault on the body.
Our clients have cause to believe that the deceased was beaten to death by the police officers, and not the inmates. We are inclined to agree with them. We know that the cell in the station is so close to the charge office that any little disturbance therein will not escape the attention of even the busiest officer on duty. We state therefore that even if it is assumed that the inmates were responsible for the assault which led to the death of the deceased, then we pray that the relevant police officers should be arrested and charged for criminal negligence. Indeed we dare say that they are not worth their name and title as police officers!!! We ask again: why did the police not intervene when the assault was going on in the cells, assuming that is true? Our position is even strengthened by the fact that the police were reluctant to even inform the wife that the deceased had passed away. Why did the police keep mute about it from Tuesday when the incident happened until Wednesday? Why did the police lie to the people that the deceased was sick and had been rushed to the hospital? We have also heard that the police are telling the inmates to assume responsibility for the death of the deceased with the promise that they would intervene to get the courts to be lenient with them.
It is our respectful submission that the police are not telling the truth. On the basis of the facts recounted above, we have our client?s instructions to pray that you may be pleased to institute a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the untimely death of Mr. Assuah Buah.
By copy of this letter, we are also praying that the Attorney-General and the Minister for Interior to intervene and take the appropriate action in this case.
Your cooperation in this regard will be highly appreciated.
Alexander K. K. Abban, Esq.
Cardinal Law Group
Madam Mary Yankey, Half-Assini
Mr. John Akossey Addo, Ekpu
The Director-General, CID, Police Headquarters, Accra
Director-General, Legal, Police Headquarters, Accra
The Western Regional Police Commander, Takoradi
The Commander Jomoro District Police
The Attorney-General, A-G?s Department, Accra
The Minster, Ministry of Interior, Accra
The Member of Parliament, Jomoro Constituency
By Bright Dzakah/Onua 95.1FM/3news.com