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General News Tue, 29 Mar 2016

SA 3 deportation most embarrassing - Atta-Akyea

The lawyer for the three retired South African police officers Atta Akyea who were deported Tuesday morning has described the deportation as “most embarrassing” to Ghana’s security set up.

Condemning the act, Mr. Akyea said “this is most embarrassing to our security set up because if they had confidence in their charges, they should have prosecuted them and not left them off the hook.”

Granting an interview to Graphic Online’s Mabel Aku Baneseh, Mr. Akyea said the deportation of the three was indicative of the fact that their arrest was a “whole melodrama.”

According to the counsel, charges levelled against Major Ahmed Shaik Hazis (retd), 54; Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe, 33, and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani, 45 were without substance.

“It was to feed the NDC’s propaganda that the NPP is doing something untoward,” he noted.

The deportation of the three, he indicated, was a mockery of Ghana’s democracy, saying what had transpired was an “international embarrassment.”

The three South Africans were arrested in the Central Region for allegedly engaging in activities with national security implications.

They were alleged to be training 15 young men in various security drills, including unarmed combat, weapon handling, VIP protection techniques and rapid response exercises.

They were put on board South African Airways flight number 210, which departed around 9:26 am to Johannesburg.

Their entry visas have been revoked by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

Officials from the GIS and security details from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), escorted the three to the aircraft, which was yet to be boarded by other passengers.

Graphic online witnessed the scene as the three were made to board the aircraft around 8:29 am. They were not handcuffed and had no security escort from Ghana.

According to security sources, South African officials would meet the three on arrival.

Bail

The three were granted bail on March 24, 2016, but officials of the BNI whisked the three away amidst protest from their lawyers, who viewed the act as an abuse of the rights of the accused persons.

The three were each granted a Gh?20,000 bail with one surety when they were arraigned at the Accra Circuit Court on March 24, 2016.

Lawyers of the accused persons raised legal issues with the continuous incarceration of the three and indicated their intent to file the necessary legal papers in court to secure their release.

Court appearance

A team of seven lawyers, led by Mr Ellis Owusu Fordjour and Mr Samuel Atta Akyea represented the three South Africans.

They were each charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit crime, unlawful training and making false declaration. They pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The prosecution prayed the court to remand the accused persons since investigations were ongoing but lawyers for the accused persons garnered legal arguments to justify why the three should be granted bail.

The prosecution, led by Superintendent Francis Baah had wanted the accused persons to be remanded but the defence lawyers raised objections and said the offences for which the three were being held were bailable.

The court presided over by Mrs Patricia Quansah granted the accused persons bail. The case was then adjourned to April 12, 2016.

The court ordered that the passports of the accused persons should be deposited with the Registrar of the court and that the sureties were to provide photo identity cards to satisfy the bail conditions.

Confusion

There was confusion, however, after the court proceedings as officers of the BNI took the accused persons away.

Their lawyers protested and argued that the rights of their clients were being curtailed and that it was an abuse of the court processes.

Mr. Akyea for instance insisted that the court ordered that the accused persons should be released to the Registrar whilst they [BNI] went to inspect the houses of the sureties, but instead they opted to take the accused persons away.

Source: Graphic.com.gh