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Short Commission explains why it declined to invite Lydia Alhassan

Lydia Alhassan Widow Op Lydia Seyram Alhassan, MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon

Sat, 2 Mar 2019 Source:

The Short Commission has explained why it declined to invite Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon to testify before it.

Dr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, the Executive Secretary of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission of Inquiry said the Commission takes witnesses on the basis of relevance, stating that Madam Alhassan was a secondary witness.

Dr Abotsi made the disclosure on Friday, during a press briefing at the end of the Commission's tour of the scenes of the outbreak of violence at La-Bawaleshie during the January 31, Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary by-election.

Dr Botsi said "even though initially we had decided to speak to all the candidates, the Commission subsequent reassessment concluded that we should speak to people who have primary evidence, and who, therefore, was relevant. Because mind you, we don't have a lot of time so we are speaking to most relevant people".

"It turned out that the candidate who actually won, that is the MP was not on the scene. She was not here. She never was here for the entire time. Everything she knows about this incident, she heard from someone. Therefore, she is only at best a secondary witness."

Dr Botsi said the Commission, therefore, came to the conclusion that frankly apart from having won the election there was nothing she was going to tell them, apart from speaking on the basis of things people had told her.

"That is the reason the Commission decided subsequently not to call her again," the Executive Secretary stated.

He said the Commission would call all witnesses who were relevant.

"Even though we are trying to work against speed and time, it is important that conclusions are thorough and complete, so that whatever recommendations are they will be useful and effective," Dr Abotsi said.

He noted that next week, the Inspector General of Police, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana would be appearing before the Commission.

The visit to the scene of violence during the by-election, which was fact-finding exercise was to appraise and furnish the Commission with corroborative evidence or otherwise relative to the testimonies given before it.

Mr Justice Francis Emile Short, the Chairman of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission of Inquiry, led the delegation.

Other members are Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, an eminent professor in criminal law and Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP).

In attendance also was Mr Eric Osei-Mensah, Counsel of the Commission.

The Commissioners were conducted around the scenes of the violence jointly by Detective Chief Inspect Abudulai Jallo-Sulemana of the East Legon Police Station and Mr Micheal Cudjoe, a Ballistic Expert at the Forensic Laboratory of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.

The tour took them to the La-Bawaleshie Presbyterian Basic One School, where a polling station was cited on the day of the by-election and to the residence of Mr Delali Kwesi Brempong, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary candidate in the by-election.

Following the outbreak of violence on January 31, during the Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary by-election, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo set up the Commission to conduct a far-reaching investigation, which would sustain the peace of the nation.

The Commission has adjourned sitting to Monday, March 4.

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