Nearly 75 Days After Its Submission
Near 75 days after the Emile Short Commission, which investigated the widely condemned Ayawaso West Wuogon by election violence in January and submitted its report to President Akufo-Addo, he is yet to act on the recommendations of the eminent citizens, who presided over the commission.
He is also yet to issue a white paper on the work of the commission.
The Herald is informed that, President Akufo-Addo’s unconditional love for the Minister of State at National Security, Bryan Acheampong, is what is preventing him from taken action on the report procured at the expense of Ghanaian taxpayers.
During the Easter festivities, President Akufo-Addo, spent a number of days at the Minister’s luxurious, Rock City Hotel at Nkwatia-Kwahu in the Eastern region.
He was seen wining, dining and dancing to Shatta Wale’s “I know my level” song at the hotel’s underground Nightclub in the company of NPP bigwigs and young ladies from the NPP’s Loyal Ladies and Staunched Queens.
The Herald sources who were in the Nightclub, were made certain by the body language between the President and the Minister, the Emile Short Commission report, will not see the light of day, and indeed 74 days after it was presented to him at the Jubilee House, Ghanaian taxpayers, are yet to see something meaningful come out from the work they paid for and watched on live television.
The three-member Commission, which was given only a month to discharge it work, was set upunder Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution by the President to investigate the gun violence, physical assaults and life-threatening injuries which marred the by-election.
The Commission, was chaired by a former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Justice Francis Emile Short, with two other Commissioners, an astute lawyer, Prof. Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu and a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong.
Ernest Kofi Abotsi, served as the Commission’s Executive Secretary.
While accepting the report on Thursday March 14, 2019, President Akufo-Addo, expressed appreciation to the members of the commission for their willingness to take up the “difficult assignment”, and thanked them for bringing it to a conclusion within the allotted time.
He promised that “Government will study the contents, findings and recommendations of the report, and, in accordance with article 280 of the Constitution, will ensure that the relevant decisions taken on the report are communicated to the general public,” adding “the findings and the recommendations of the report will be given the greatest possible attention by me and my government.”
The Commission was expected to among others, identify persons responsible for the violence and recommend sanctions where appropriate.
Presenting the report to the President, Justice Emile Short said the Commission had delivered on its mandate.
He told President, “the depth of our report will convince you, your Excellency of the fact that all necessary grounds have been covered, and I am confident that you will find the findings and recommendation useful in shaping the future”.
But almost three months into the presentation of the report, government, has kept details of the report a top secret.
There are media reports saying that the three eminent members of the Commission, who conducted their task live on television and radio, recommended that certain individuals who gained notoriety for their roles in the brutalities leading to the near death of innocent citizens, be punished or reassigned.
Controversial names such as Bryan Acheampong, who happens to be the Minister of state in-charge of National Security, Head of operations at the National Security, Colonel Michael Opoku, National Security operative, Bright Ernest Akomeah alias “Double” and DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu of the Ghana Police Service, have all had their names mentioned and specific recommendation made against them.
The Presidential Commission, recommended the prosecution of Double, who confessed during testimony that he used unauthorized weapon during the SWAT team’s operation at the residence of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate, Delali Kwesi Brempong.
The Commission also recommended “The criminal prosecution” of the operative “for the authorized possession of firearms under section 192 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act”.
It further recommended that DSP Azugu, who was the Commander of the SWAT team be removed “from commanding responsibility”.
Further, the Commission recommended that, Colonel Mike Opoku, be reprimanded “for being ultimately responsible for the outcome of the SWAT operation at the La Bawaleshie School Polling Station”.
His liability is further reinforced by his failure to properly define the mission for which the SWAT team was sent and ensuring that the SWAT team complied with defined mission. It us further recommended that Col. Opoku be made to immediate release the weapon used for, well as the personal (SIC) involved in, the operation to enable ballistic testing and analysis to be undertaken and for further investigation by the Police”.
Again, “The Commission recommended that Mr. Bryan Acheampong be reprimanded for his ultimate responsibility as Minister in authorizing an operation of that character and on a day of an election in a built up area,” the report allegedly said.
“The Commission recommends that SWAT team of the National Security Council Secretariat should be disbanded and operatives be assigned as appropriate”.
But reports from the corridors of power are that President Akufo-Addo is unable to implement the recommendation in the report because of his love and financial indebted to Mr.Acheampong, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abetifi.
Reports say the President is so attached to the lawmaker that during this year’s Easter festivities, the first gentleman of the land was spotted in the Minister’s hotel in Kwahu catching fun with the women groups affiliated to the governing party.
Ahead of the Kwahu Festival, Mr Acheampong, had taken to social media; Facebook on April 15, 2019, warning “What Happens in Kwahu Stays in Kwahu” implying nothing including videos of the President’s dance with the Loyal Ladies and Staunch Queens inside the Rock City Hotel, was permitted to be made public.
Meanwhile, the Director of Communication at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, has served notice the President would not be stampeded to make known details of the much anticipated report, adding the government will release the report as and when it deems fit and appropriate.
Speaking to Starr News on April 13, 2019, exactly a month after the report was submitted to the President, Mr Arhin, said the President was still studying the report and would act at within the time granted by the constitution.
“The President has not issued a white paper on the recommendations of the Short commission which was submitted about a month ago. The President is still studying the report”.
Mr Arhin went on to say “As I said the there are two options the constitution give the president anytime a report of such nature is brought to him. Either he publishes the report and alongside a white paper or if he decides not to publish the report, he puts out a statement on why the report is not to be published and the constitutions gives him six months to do so. The President will not be stampeded into making any decisions now, he has to satisfy himself first, and the decisions he wants to take and once,” he said that decisions is taking we will let Ghanaians know what that decisions is,” he said.
The President was later to express deep concern over the leakage of the report into the media by unknown persons within his midst at the Presidency, describing it as irresponsible, adding the government will rather err on the side of caution, rather than make any hasty decisions.
President Akufo-Addo, said until the government was satisfied with response that is up to its sense of responsibilities, the report will not be released.
President Akufo-Addo, stated this when members of the Ghana Anti Corruption Coalition, paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House. There is also pressure from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) demanding that a white paper be issued on the report. But the main opposition NDC says the non-publication of the report is a “blatant disregard for the principles of transparency.”