13 December 2012

Ghana: Who Raided NPP Office?

The invasion of the research department of the New Patriotic Party by police and military personnel, and the subsequent denial by the men in the black uniform has raised questions about the identity of the heavily armed personnel who raided the building.

According to Nana Akomea, Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), after the National Executive Committee of the party met on Tuesday to discuss the malpractices they discovered in the just-ended presidential and parliamentary elections, the research department was directed look for more evidence to enable the party prepare a petition to the Supreme Court.

Nana Akomea, who was speaking in an interview with The Chronicle yesterday, noted that if a figure of 160,000 votes was discovered to have been added to the total votes of the National Democratic Congress candidate, John Dramani Mahama, the latter would not be in position to cross the five percent plus one vote line.

He noted that this decision taken by the National Executive Committee was dully communicated to the public through a press conference. The party also informed the public that the research department had been tasked to collate all the results - both presidential and parliamentary - and sieve those they believe had illegally been added to that of the NDC, and those subtracted from Nana Addo's.

The NPP Director of Communication regretted that hours after they had put this information in the public domain, and the intention of the party to proceed to the Supreme Court, heavily armed police personnel raided the research department, which is located inside the La Monte Guest House at Asylum Down, a suburb of Accra, and ordered the over 30 research officers in the building to lie down at gunpoint.

He noted that even if the peace officers were there to search for certain documents, due process of the law was not followed, because they did not produce any warrant.

Nana Akomea further told The Chronicle that since nothing incriminatory was found against the party, they demand an unqualified apology from the police. But, the police, in a statement issued yesterday, have denied that they raided the NPP office, as alleged by the party leadership and broadcast by the media.

The statement, which was signed by Mr. John Kudalor, Director of Operations of the Police Service, also denied that they (police) carried away lot of materials and items, including computers and evidence being put together to fight their cause in court.

The following is the full press statement.

The Ghana Police Service wishes to debunk allegations being carried by a section of the electronic media to the effect that a team of police and military personnel raided the Headquarters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Tuesday, 11th December 2012.

It was further alleged that on raiding the said premises, the team carried away a lot of materials and items, including computers and evidence being put together to fight their cause in the court. The Police Service wishes to state emphatically, that the said allegations are false and unfounded. The [olice neither raided the NPP Headquarters nor carried any such items and documents away.

The facts are that:

1. The Police had a hint that some macho men, numbering twenty (20), had arrived at a location near the Burkina Faso Embassy at Asylum Down, and were offloading arms into a house.

2. The team of security officers, taking cognisance of the times, quickly mobilised men to visit the place to establish the veracity of the allegation.

3. The team got there at about 5:17 p.m. and located the house and identified it to be La Monte Guest House.

4. The team entered the house and found about thirty (30) people inside the house.

5. The people were called together and the leader identified.

6. A team of security officers identified themselves to the inmates, and informed them about their mission. The team of officers was then led to search the rooms.

7. No arms were found.

8. The team of officers then took leave of the people.

It must be noted that section 94 of Act 30/60 allows the police, on reasonable suspicion, to enter any premises to conduct a search. There is, therefore, no substance in the allegation that the team of security officers invaded the NPP Headquarters and carried computers and documents away. The public is therefore entreated to dismiss the allegation as a piece of information intended to throw dust into the eyes of the public.

But Nana Akomea insists that the police did raid their offices, and that they claim they were now making was an afterthought. He is, therefore, demanding full scale investigations into the action of the police, and an unqualified apology from the Police Service.

A source in the Police Service, who spoke to The Chronicle, however said if it becomes necessary for the security agency to render the unqualified apology, as was being demanded by the NPP, they would not hesitate to do so.

Meanwhile a Constitutional Lawyer and leading member of the NPP, Nana Asante Bediatuo, has punched holes in the argument made by the police that under Section 94 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 30) they had the right to carry out such a raid. According to the astute lawyer the claim had no basis in law.

Speaking in an interview with Joy FM yesterday, Nana Asante Bediatuo explained that the section in question only applied to stolen goods, and that once the matter was not about stolen goods, the police needed a search warrant to enter the building, something they could not produce when asked.

Bediatuo regretted that when NPP officials in the building demanded a search warrant from the police, they rather told them that they did not need to produce one. The police also refused to identify themselves.

In a related development, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on members of the party not to indulge in any form of violence. A statement, signed George Lawson, General Secretary of the party in charge of Operations, said they (police) had confirmed to them that one of their members had been stabbed, allegedly by NPP demonstrators, but that should not infuriate the followers to also retaliate.

"The party has also received complaints of unprovoked attacks on its supporters across the country. According to media reports, thousands of disgruntled NPP supporters have besieged some parts of Accra and other parts of the country. The NDC has confidence and trust in the security agencies, and while commending them for their efforts in curbing any potential disturbances, we urge them to step up their operations to protect lives and property.

"The leadership of the NDC wishes to reassure its supporters that the party has been rightly declared winners by the Electoral Commission, the only body constitutionally mandated to declare presidential results after elections. The NDC appeals to its numerous followers all over the country to remain calm and resolute, and restrain from any act of provocation and retaliation that have the tendency to trigger clashes and violence in the country," the statement concluded.

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