5 NPP Boys In Court
4/18/2012 4:08:08 PM -
Five supporters of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the Member of Parliament for Assin North, were yesterday dragged to court for rioting.
The accused persons, all believed to be under 25, including a minor, were charged in an Accra Circuit Court in the presence of the some top brass of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) including Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, National Chairman, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, former Defence Minister, and the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye and his son, Mike Oquaye Jnr.
The suspects, Kwame Oduro, a trader, Samuel Kofi Gyebi, a caterer, Samuel Nsiah Kwame, a minor, Kofi Dankwa, a mechanic and Kwame Affram, an electrician, pleaded not guilty to rioting.
The trial judge, Audrey Kocuvie-Tay, granted them bail in the sum of GH¢50,000 with two sureties but sounded a word of caution, calling on all Ghanaians not to condone wrong-doing as these were 'trying political times'.
The case has been adjourned to May 9, 2012.
ASP Aidan Dery, the prosecuting officer, told the court that the accused persons are residents of Accra and NPP activists.
According to him, on April 16, 2012, Kennedy Agyapong was invited for questioning for inciting one tribe against another.
He said that attracted some NPP executives and some supporters who arrived at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters to give the MP moral support.
He said by 11pm, when it became clear that the MP was not going to be released, the suspects, among others, turned riotous and threw stones at windscreens, burnt tyres and blocked roads around the Ako Adjei Interchange, thereby blocking traffic.
He said consequently, the Riot Control Police Personnel arrived and restored order.
Samuel Ata Akyea, counsel for the accused persons, said he personally witnessed the incident and could confirm that considering the level of tear gas at the CID Headquarters, it could not have been possible for the accused to commit the said offence.
He denied that the accused persons were part of those who rioted, adding that they were just innocent persons who had closed from work and were on their way home.
He said his clients were being used as guinea-pigs and noted that the police fired teargas to disperse the crowd.
Mr. Akyea stated that the young men were not capable of interfering with investigations and prayed the court to grant them bail, adding that the alleged offence was a misdemeanour.
Defence counsel explained that the incarceration of the suspects would be needless as they were incapable of pitching their strength against the State, apart from the fact that they had credible persons ready to stand surety for them.
Outside the court, hundreds of supporters who were not allowed into the court premises burst into spontaneous cheers as they were told the suspects had been granted bail.
Clad in red and black with red headbands, they mobbed the party executives such as the former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, Akwasi Osei Adjei, former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku.
By Fidelia Achama