No arms cache in my house — Delali Brempong
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate in last month’s Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, Mr Delali Kwasi Brempong, has denied police allegations that his house was a warehouse for keeping arms during the conduct of the January 31 by-election.
He said his house was not a warehouse but a seven-bedroom apartment that had a garage and private working offices for himself and his son.
“In all my life I have never lawfully or unlawfully acquired any arms. I am a pharmacist and I am under oath to protect lives and I have no evidence at all of people coming to my house with weapons,” he stated.
Appearing before the Justice Emile Short Commission of Enquiry yesterday, Mr Brempong also denied ever transporting people from Tamale and Kumasi to the constituency to provide him security, as was being alleged by the police.
Mr Brempong’s assertions followed an earlier testimony by the Director of Operations of the National Security Secretariat, Col Michael Kojo Opoku, to the effect that the National SWAT team gathered intelligence that there were some people from Tamale and Kumasi who were keeping weapons in the NDC parliamentary candidate’s house.
Col Opoku, in his testimony earlier, had claimed that the intelligence caused the SWAT team to proceed to Mr Brempong’s house to verify the report, leading to the shooting of 15 people in front of the house.
Recounting the violent attack that took place in front of his house, Mr Brempong said the house was located some 50 metres away from the La Bawaleshie Polling Station.
He said about 7 a.m. on January 31, this year, he left his house to visit various polling stations in the constituency to observe the conduct of the poll.
According to him, about 8 a.m. while on the field, his son called him that he had heard from the bathroom 15 gunshots close to his house.
Following that report, Mr Brempong said he immediately rushed home.
According to him, when he arrived at home, a number of people, including family members, workers, NDC faithful and curious residents of the area met him.
He said on arrival he was shown a pool of blood and he saw that eight of the 15 shots fired in front of his house had hit some trees outside the main gate of the house, while four vehicles parked close to the house were riddled with bullets.
“What I visibly saw were 15 bullets that were either stray or misdirected from the direction of a school close to the left side of my house,” he said.
Led in evidence by counsel of the commission, Mr Brempong said eyewitnesses informed him that the bullets were shot by the very people who had attacked his house and were resisted from entering the apartment to search for firearms.
“There is no evidence of shooting from the house but there is abundant evidence of shooting from the outside,” he said.
He further denied ever knowing the 15 motorbike riders whom the police alleged went to his house to provide him security, saying: “I did not see one single motorbike in my house.”
He, however, acknowledged that he knew “facially” some of the nine NDC supporters who went to the house and who were arrested by the police following the violent confrontation in front of his house.
Responding to a question from counsel for the commission that some of the people arrested had told the people that they came from outside the constituency, he answered in the affirmative.
He, however, retorted that since the election was of so much interest to the NDC, most of the national and constituency executives of the party who campaigned for him came from outside the area, particularly as he had requested for “human resource support” from the party.
To the question that some NDC people, including Nii Lante Vanderpuye, the National Deputy Women’s Organiser of the NDC and Sam George, had gone to his house in a convoy of four vehicles and 15 motorbikes, he blatantly denied that claim.
“Nii Lante Vanderpuye came to my house alone and the Deputy Women’s Organiser was my campaign manager during my campaign and she had access to my house.
I only waved at Sam George when he passed in front of my house,” he asserted.
Director of Operations
Earlier in his testimony, Col Opoku had described as “well-doctored” the video the Emile Short Commission was depending on to carry out its investigations into the violence that occurred at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
He said the original video that circulated on the various media platforms soon after the violence was vastly different from the one in the possession of the commission that distorted the true reflection of what happened.
“In the original video, Sam George could be seen moving away while being slapped, but we are seeing a different thing and different narrations from the video here at the commission,” he stated.
‘Commission can’t use video’
Appearing before the three-member commission yesterday, Col Opoku said: “Because the first footage I watched from the office at Abelemkpe reported that two people had died and they quoted a Joy FM reporter, you can get the person to confirm it.
I had to do a lot of checks before I could give a report to my minister because he insisted the reporter said two persons died.
“So maybe this video here is meant for some purpose but not to be used by the commission because it is a well-doctored video that we are all watching,” he stated.
Justice Emile Short (middle) interacting with Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu (left), and Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong (right) during the committee sitting in Accra. Pictures: BENEDICT OBUOBI
Doubts about video
Led in evidence by counsel of the commission, Col Opoku said there was much doubt about the video being relied upon by the commission to conduct its investigations.
While admitting that he did not know who had shot the original video, Col Opoku told the commission that he also did not know the source but “it was available on the Internet”.
When Mr Justice Short asked if he had the original video in his possession, Col Opoku said: “I will look for it.”
The commission, therefore, adjourned the hearing of Col Opoku’s testimony to February 25, 2019 to allow him to provide it with all relevant materials, including the original video, the report he received from the Commander of the National Security SWAT team, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu, and an audio on the incident.
Hearing continues on Monday, February 25, 2019.