A Ho High Court presided over Mr Eric Baah has remanded five persons into police custody for forcibly removing the District Chief Executive of Krachi West from office.
The five- Sarfo Sunkwa, Mathias Banyaolenso, Tijani Shaibu, Muntala Yakubu, and Amos Nseikor Lante were charged with unlawful entry, causing unlawful damage, and rioting with weapons.
They are to reappear in court on June 11, this year.
Chief Superintendent Yakubu Aklogo, Prosecuting, told the court that Mr Douglas Osei-Nti, the DCE who was also the complainant had his office door forcibly opened by accused persons on Tuesday May 28, 2019 at about 1100 am.
The Prosecution said the accused persons accosted the complainant who was in his office at the moment, “molested and harassed” him “without provocation”.
The Prosecution said Sarfo Sunkwa and one Awal Muhammed who is on the run proceeded to snatch two mobile phones from the complainant.
He said the complainant was marched out from his office into a “riotous group of members of the party with cutlasses, stones, metals, sticks and other weapons”.
The Prosecution said the accused persons marched the complainant towards the police station when the police intervened and rescued the complainant.
He said the complainant was sent to the police station for safety, and the accused later locked up the office of the complainant with nails and wood, and vandalised the office building.
Chief Superintendent Aklogo prayed the court to remand the accused persons to enable investigations to be concluded, and argued that releasing them might influence investigations as the police were working to arrest other suspects.
Mr Ernest Gaewu, counsel for the accused in response said the accused persons were former executives of the New Patriotic Pary and also youth leaders in the District whose attention on May 28, 2019 was drawn to the fact that some youth had marched to the office of the DCE.
He said the accused went to the scene to rescue the DCE and had earlier lodged a complaint with the police to that effect, adding that “it was not they who went to the DCE’s office with violence”.
“If not for their intervention, something worse would have happened”, he stated.
Mr Gaewu said Police at Dambai, on May 29, invited the accused persons for a dialogue on the issue and ended up arresting and charging them.
He told the court that “if really they were involved they would not have even honoured the call to Dambai”, and that remanding them was to punish them before investigations were concluded.
“They (the police) want to douse the situation… Remanding them would not be in the interest of the Republic because they came freely”, he said.
Mr Gaewu told the court that the youth of the Party in the District were already agitated and were threatening more riots, and that the accused persons must be granted bail to assist the police in their investigations.
But Justice Baah said the Police could not be expected to conclude the investigations within the few days of the event and that the remand of the accused to assist the investigations was a “potent argument”.
He stated that the fact that some suspects were yet to be arrested made the situation “fluid”, and that “it will not be prudent to release the accused when the police are on the heels of other culprits”.
The court said “The offence appears quite serious. The violent and lawless removal from office of a lawfully appointed official- a person appointed by no less a person than the President of the Republic as alleged against the accused, is an act that strikes at the core of the Rule of Law…”
“This is an offence that the court wants to give very serious attention to. If the accused are not part of the agitating youth, then their own safety is at stake. It may be necessary for them to be kept safe by the State from the alleged lawless youth”, Justice Baah said.
He said their remand would ensure their availability to provide information to the police towards the arrest of the youth who were alleged to be at the forefront of the violence.
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