As Commission Cries For Information
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has technically banned its members, including the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram from honouring any invitation from the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry probing the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence which occurred on January 31 .
Mr George was twice slapped by a known activist of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who took part in the dastardly gun violence incident which resulted in the injury of some 18 persons at the La Bawaleshie polling centre, as well as the home of Kwasi Delali Brempong, the NDC Parliamentary Candidate.
A three-member Commission started work on Monday and was expected to take statements from key political actors, including the NDC and the NPP, but the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC in charge of Operations, Peter Boamah Otukunor, said the opposition party “will not be part of any charade.”
“We will not be part of any attempt to cover up the heinous crimes and barbaric attacks at last Thursday’s by-election,” he stressed.
There was a shooting incident that occurred near a La Bawaleshie polling centre that temporarily disrupted the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election and resulted in at least 13 persons sustaining injuries.
Some masked men wearing black polo-shirts with National Security Council (NSC)and using police registered vehicles were also seen in a video brutalising and shooting at innocent civilians some of who are still in a hospital over the gun wounds.
The ban served on the NDC members, comes as the Commission is appealing to the public to furnish it with any relevant information to help in its probe.
In a statement, the commission asked the public to forward such information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or deliver it by hand to the Executive Secretary of Ayawaso Wuogon Commission of Inquiry, Christiansborg Osu, Accra.
“Notice is hereby given to the general public inviting the submission of relevant memoranda to aid in the said investigation and for the effective conclusion of it works.”
The Commission in its press release urged the public to sign any statement or memoranda before sending it.
The Commission, also said the information must be forwarded to it before February 20, 2019.
“All memoranda or other statements must be submitted by the author and bear th, sender’s name and address to enable further communication as necessary.”
An oral hearing would be held on February 14, 2019, at 10 am which will be open to the public.
The Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia with the permission of President Akufo-Addo last week, set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the election violence that saw supposedly national security personnel in masks and uniforms beat up some citizens.
The Chairman of the Commission is the former head of the Commission of Human Rights and Administration Justice, (CHRAJ) Justice Emile Short.
The commission which has Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Patrick K. Acheampong as members is expected to complete its work in a month.
The Herald’s findings had been that, Colonel Michael Kwadwo Opoku, Director General of Operations at the National Security Secretariat, deployed the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit; made of selected officers of the Ghana Police Service, one Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu, has been identified as leading the dastardly act.
These two men, hold the key to unraveling the circumstances surrounding the deployment of the masked men with sophisticated police vehicles and weapons, which the police service, has since disowned with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante Appeatu, promising an investigation, but without an assurance of the punishment.
Both Colonel Michael Kwadwo Opoku and DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu, are at the Command and Control of the Minister of State in-charge of National Security, Bryan Acheampong, who himself had served in the United States Army during the Iraqi war.
The Herald’s findings are that DSP Azugu, is the Commander of the Police SWAT Unit at the National Security Secretariat, popularly called Castle Annex.
He had once served as one of the bodyguards to ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, but recalled to the National Security Secretariat upon a change of government in 2009.
It was created by Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey in 2013 and heavily equipped to deal with armed robbery and immediately response to crime and riotous situations. DSP Azugu, acts as the Station Officer in-charge of the SWAT team.
Ironically, DSP Azugu, had spent time as peacekeeping police officer in war-torn Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina in southeastern Europe, where he encountered the famous Ghanaian, Kofi Annan in 1999, when he was Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).
Interestingly, DSP Azugu was at the Bawaleshie polling center during voting in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-elections, Thursday with videos showing him pointing at people his masked men should physically manhandle.
The masked men had arrived at the polling centre in pickups and other vehicles causing total pandemonium with AK-47 and pistols and engaged in sporadic shooting.
They chased away people and severely assaulted those they laid their hands on. They reportedly took away ballot boxes in the ensuing confusion.
Some had also stormed the home of the candidate of the NDC, Delali Kwasi Brempong.
Insiders revealed that, SWAT was made up of some policemen and NPP party thugs, including the infamous Invincible Forces. They were deployed with the weapons and ammunition to cause mayhem, as the fear was that their party was going to lose. They wore brown khaki uniform, desert military boots, black sweaters and bulletproof verses.
They had National Security official tags by way of identification, as well as polo shirts with the NSC- National Security boldly embossed on them.
The heavily-armed men, had their faces masked and difficult to recognize. Indeed, a police chief in the Constituency, has been captured in video footage telling pressmen he doesn’t know who deployed them to the various polling stations. He denied they were policemen.
Interestingly, ahead of the deployment, some of them were seen taking pictures with their faces boldly displayed. There are other pictures of the same squad being trained at a Military facility believed to be the Asutsuare Military Camp meant for the 64 Infantry Regiment, in the Eastern Region, on how to handle sophisticated military weapons.