12 January 2016

Ghana: Court Orders for the Arrest of NPP Raider

An Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Ms. Ruby Adjeley Quayson, has issued a bench warrant for the arrest Michael Akoha, one of the eleven accused persons who invaded the New Patriotic Party (NPP) head office in Accra last year.

Akoha had failed to appear in court yesterday for the trial. The court did not, however, accept the claim by his counsel, Mr. Aziz that, the accused has a mental problem.

Meanwhile, one of the accused persons, Abdul Wudu, also did not show up in court but was saved from an arrest by the prosecution; since his lawyer informed the court the he was bereaved. The prosecution witness, Mr. Roberts Essuman, was present in court to give his evidence.

Background

The 11 suspects, who are currently on bail had gone to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) headquarters at dawn destroy items valued at GH¢28,000in November last year.

All 11 suspects, including one female, had pleaded not guilty to the various charges of unlawful entry, unlawful purpose on private premises, and unlawful damages leveled against them.

According to the Prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abraham Annor, the raiders caused damage to properties amounting to GH¢28,000.

They were, granted bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 with two sureties, including the ringleader.

As part of the bail conditions, all eleven accused persons were also to undertake a bond to be of good behaviour, in default would attract a three-month imprisonment.

The mastermind, Bismark Osei Danso, had earlier indicated that, they went to the party headquarters to have a peaceful talk with their leaders, because they were worried about the internal wrangling in the party, which could cause the NPP's downfall during the 2016 elections, but not to vandalise property.

Facts

The facts of the case, according to DSP Abraham Annor, were that on November 23, 2015, at about 2:30 am, the police acted on information that some soldiers had invaded the national headquarters of the New Patriotic Party at Asylum Down, and were causing damage to properties.

The police immediately rushed to the scene and the accused Bismark Osei Danso, a retired soldier, together with 10 others in red T-shirts with the inscription "United Patriot" were arrested.

He told the court that they were sent to the Accra Regional headquarters, and later to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters for investigations.

During investigations, and in their respective cautioned statements, the accused, Bismark Osei Danso, informed the police that he mobilised eight retired soldiers, all living at Kakasonanka near Michel Camp, and dressed them in military uniforms and took them to the NPP headquarters.

Explaining further, he said the retired soldiers had information that the "Invisible Forces" at NPP headquarters had weapons on them. They, thus, needed to disarm them before they organised a peaceful meeting between the executives of the NPP and the suspended Chairman at the party headquarters.

In addition, he mobilised 480 youth supporters from all the 10 regions to the party headquarters to support them, since they would organise a press conference after the meeting.

However, when the retired soldiers entered the premises of the party headquarters, they took the security men hostage and locked them up in the security room.

According to the Prosecutor, the eight retired soldiers entered the premises without anybody at the headquarters accompanying them.

They later brought a fertilizer sack containing three SMG guns loaded with 36 ammunition and three machetes, and informed the caretakers and the security man that they had found the weapons near the generator set behind the building.

The soldiers stated that the security man, Moro Sulemana, was the custodian of the weapons since he was a member of the Invisible Forces operating at the party headquarters.

The security man, however, denied ownership of the weapons and stated that he was a porter and only went to the NPP headquarters to sleep at night.

Moments later, three buses containing youth in red T-shirts with the inscription 'United Patriot' also pulled up at the entrance of the headquarters.

They were allowed in, and that was when they started vandalising all the structures.

Sittings Continues Today

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