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General News Mon, 26 Jan 2004

Driver wants NRC to assist him with loan

Ho, Jan 26, GNA- Mr Simon Kwame Fetor, a driver, on Monday appealed to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) to assist him to obtain a loan instead of compensation to enable him revive his taxi business. He told the Commission that until 1979 he owned four taxis and in that year a passenger hired him to Denu. On reaching a barrier at the Ho Leprosarium a soldier stopped him and said he was wanted at the Volta Barracks.


But just when he turned to go he heard a shot that compelled him to stop.


He said the soldier entered the taxi and directed him to move to the barracks where he handed the taxi over to one Tamakloe. Mr Fetor said shortly after handing over the taxi, Tamakloe slapped him and ordered him to lie down on the ground asking him how he got money to buy his taxis.


His answer was that he bought the taxis through "hard work" and the support of a friend called Mr Okudjeto at Denu who later came to confirm it.


Mr Fetor said Tamakloe handed him over to one Norvimegbe who made him to lie on the hot tarred road and drilled him.


He said he was detained at the barracks for one month during which he went through routine drilling and was finally left to go but asked to listen to the radio for further instructions.

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Mr Fetor said sometime later he heard on radio that he should report at the Gondar Barracks in Accra where he was detained for three weeks and subjected to regular drilling.


He said he and others were served with left over food from the soldiers which was horrible especially rice.


The rice was mixed with sand and they were ordered to chew so that the soldier guarding them could hear the gritty noise.


Mr Fetor said after he was released from the Gondar Barracks he was asked to report back after two weeks but he did not.


He said two-and-half months after his released from the Gondar Barracks he was invited to the Volta Barracks and asked to come for his four taxis which were operational vehicles for the soldiers. Mr Fetor said he saw the taxis in a deplorable state with all the tyres and several parts gone.


He contacted some of his colleagues for some tyres but just when he was about to tow the cars away he was asked to wait until an enquiry was made at the Income Tax Office to ascertain whether he was paying his tax.

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Mr Fetor said since the taxis were in a state of disrepair he sold them as scrap and used some of the proceeds to farm, look after his family and for the repair of a Peugeot car that a friend lent to him to drive.


Another friend called Mr Amematekpor, who was a contractor, also gave him his pick-up for use to convey foodstuffs on commercial basis but he later retrieved the vehicle from him.


Mr Fetor said he has been meeting and greeting the Tamakloe who is now a security man at the Volta Regional Hospital in Ho.


Lt-Gen Emmanuel Erskine, a member of the Commission, commended Mr Fetor for his positive outlook to life and wished him well, while Uborr Ubal Labal and Bishop Charles Buckle both members of the Commission urged Mr Fetor to be grateful to God for keeping him focused despite his ordeal and to extend a hand of friendship to Tamakloe.


Ex-Constable Stephen Robert Kwawu, another witness appealed to the commission to have him reinstated in the Police Service even if for "one day" now that he was nearing 60 years to enable him enjoy pension". He said on July 4, 1979 while in the orderly room at the Ho Police Station, the Barracks Sergeant invited him to the Charge Office. The Barracks Sergeant, who was carrying an AK 47 rifle, fired at him but fortunately the magazine of the rifle dropped.


Ex-Constable Kwawu said he heard somebody saying to the Sergeant, that "we told you that the man is a strongman."

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He said he was then taken to the Regional Administration to face a Captain Hoppenbaur Committee over a missing quantity of sugar that was meant for distribution to various divisions in the Volta Region. The witness said that 50 bags of the sugar were allocated but Inspector Kwarteng took five bags and said they were for senior officers in Accra.


The remaining 45 bags were kept in the Regional Commanders house and later distributed among the various divisions in the region. Ex-Constable Kwawu said on entering the room a note was thrust to him on which it was written "you are dismissed" and signed by Mr Lamptey who was then Inspector-General of Police (IGP).


He said Capt Hoppenbaur ordered that he should be taken to the forecourt of the Regional Administration where his hair was shaved with broken bottles and lashed with belts and whips severely by soldiers. Ex-Constable Kwawu said before the Committee he was given a heavy slap and he felt that his left ear had gone bad.


He said he was taken from Ho to the Military Academy and Training School (MATS) guardroom where he became sick.


Ex-Constable Kwawu said he was moved from the MATS guardroom to the Military Police near the El-Wak Stadium where for a month he and others were beaten daily.


When he came back to Ho he went back to resume duty thinking that his dismissal was a joke but was told "my friend you have been dismissed."

The witness said between 1980-82, he took legal action but one day while the case was going on at the Appeals Court, word went round that "soldiers were on the way to the Court to spray us" and everybody including the Judges ran away".


Ex-Constable Kwawu said after that incident he felt he would have to wait for an opportune time to seek redress for his grievances hence his petition to the Commission.

Source: GNA
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