General News of Tue, 6 Jan 20044
NRC Chairman sympathises with Ex-convict
Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - Mr Justice Kwaku Amua-Sekyi, Chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Tuesday expressed his sympathy for an Ex-convict, Mr Emmanuel Assah Adumoah, a former Bursar of Ajena Day Secondary School, for being unlawfully included in a Public Tribunal group trial in the late 1980s and sentenced to five years' imprisonment on the basis of unproven charges of stealing two million cedis.
Mr Amua-Sekyi condemned the imprisonment of Adumoah, saying; "to include a person in group trial, when his accusation has nothing to do with those he was tried together with, is a travesty of justice and without merit".
He said: "I sympathise with you deeply because I know what happened in those days, when almost everyone taken to the Public Tribunal was sentenced either to death or to a prison term.
"You could easily count those acquitted and discharged on one hand. In those days at least five persons were executed for being charged with stealing one million cedis belonging to the State and so it was a dreadful thing to be charged with stealing money because one was sure of execution or a long imprisonment term," he said.
In his narration to the Commission, Mr Adumoah said on January 2, 1985 he was transferred from New Juaben Secondary Commercial School in the Eastern Region, where he served for nine years as Assistant Bursar, to Ajena Day Secondary School also in the same Region as the substantive Bursar.
He said after one year at Ajena, he was transferred again to Nifa Secondary School to assist the Bursar in the School.
Mr Adumoah said while in Nifa sometime in 1986, he went on a duty to Accra to chase after grants for the school, adding that on his return to the school he was told that armed soldiers came after him while he was away.
He said out of fear he vacated his post and went into hiding for eight months in the country and then went into exile in Nigeria for two and half years.
"While in exile I got to know that the reason the soldiers came after me was in relation to an audit report at Ajena Day Secondary School covering the period of between December 1983 and January 1985," he said.
"The audit report indicated that an amount of two million cedis was not accounted for and my name was erroneously mentioned as the Bursar of the School within that period."
He explained that the period the audit reports covered, he was then the assistant Bursar at New Juaben Secondary Commercial and could not have been the Bursar of Ajena so he returned to the country in 1989 just to clear his name.
"On my return I went to the Castle, the seat of power to find out why military men came after me in 1986 and I was given a letter by one Mrs Ababio to BNI and at the BNI Office I was told that I was tried in absentia along side eight other persons I do not know and my sentence was five years' imprisonment."
Mr Adumoah said he was then taken to the Nsawam Prisons where he was detained for three years and four months before he was released, adding that on his release he had sought to clear his name but did not know exactly how to go about it until the NRC was formed. Mr Justice Amua-Sekyi told Mr Adumoah that it was a mistake for him to have returned to the country at the time he did, saying that he should have waited for the change of government like many people who went into exile did at the time.
"I really do sympathise with you and I do understand your frustration, while you went into hiding and this Commission will investigate this matter thoroughly to ensure that you are duly compensated for your ordeal."
Ex-Police Inspector victimized for his patriotismAccra, Jan. 6, GNA - Ex-Police Inspector Seth Mensah Martey, formerly of the Kaneshie Divisional Criminal Investigations Department (CID), on Tuesday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that he was wrongfully dismissed from the Ghana Police Service for refusing to indulge in fraudulent activities with his superiors.
Enlisted in 1964, he rose through the ranks to the position of an Inspector in 1986 and posted to the Kaneshie Divisional CID to work with one Mr Hayford T. Tope.
Witness said sometime in 1986, he was sent together with one Detective Corporal J. K. Aduah on a private errand for Mr Tope that involved the smuggling of mercury from Accra to Kumasi by three people. They were Vincent Goze, Nana Banyin and one Frimpong.
Mr Martey said when they caught up with the suspects, Goze, who was the leader of the syndicate, tried to bribe them with 60,000 cedis but they refused and with the assistance of some CDR members they managed to arrest Goze and Nana Banyin but Frimpong managed to escape. He said the two suspects were detained at the Kaneshie Police Station for a day, wrote their statements the following day and were released on bail.
Witness said "a month during the investigations Police Superintendent Nii Adjei from the Police Headquarters invited Aduah and I for an interview before Mr Kofi Bentum Quantson, Commissioner in-charge of the Police CID on the issue".
He said instead of driving them to the Police Headquarters, they were rather driven to their individual homes and searched for allegedly possessing mercury.
Mr Martey said nothing was found on them and they were sent back to their office but Mr Tope tried to coerce them to accept a reward to stop the investigations and allow Goze to continue with his business. He said they refused, but later got to know that Goze was related to Tope so he (Witness) personally wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr C. K. Dewornu through Mr Tope on the matter. Witness said when the petition reached the IGP he rather called for a Service Enquiry on him and was investigated.
"The Service Enquiry Committee's report stated that I did no wrong and recommended that I should be admonished but not dismissed", he said. Witness said, he was given copies of the Committee's report, on which Mr Tope had made some hand written insertions to the effect that he (Martey) actually indulged himself with Goze and his colleagues in the mercury deal.
"As a result my image was tarnished. I was allowed to take the necessary examinations for promotion, I passed successfully but was never promoted until I was unlawfully dismissed from the Police Service for no apparent reason," he said.
Mr Martey said he referred the matter to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and it condemned his dismissal as baseless and called for his re-instatement.
He said now he works as an Administrative Manager for a Private Company at Madina.
Commissioner Bishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, urged Mr Martey to consider the message of Christmas and forgive his persecutors, saying that it was difficult though, "but he should let his light shine in the form of forgiveness into the darkness in the hearts of his persecutors". General Emmanuel Erskine (Rtd) said it would be prudent for Mr Tope to appear voluntarily before the Commission and clear his image on the matter.