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19.04.2007 General News

Police Capo in hot waters

By

The Brong Ahafo Regional Police Command and its Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police Kwaku Ayensu Opare-Addo have been caught by the long arm of the law.

This was consequential to a critical role he was said to have played in an alleged unlawful seizure of quantities of wood and gold processing equipment.

The items, worth several millions of cedis, were said to be the property of a foreign investor.

Among the items were a wood cutting machine, two rails, four wheels of timber trucks, a chainsaw and setting machines as well as a gold melting pot and its accessories.

According to the prosecution, apart from the gold melting pot and the setting machine, almost all the equipment seized were unlawfully dismantled by the Police and kept in the custody of one Malcom, with the connivance of one Richard Dekyi, a landlord in Wenchi.

The police commander was dragged to court when the plaintiff in the case, Dilesh Patel, Director of Akshar Timber Ltd., a private limited liability company filed a writ at the court, praying it to compel the Command to release equipment seized from his house and site.

DCOP Opare-Addo's woes got compounded when a Sunyani High Court cited him for contempt of court on April 2, 2007, and ordered his arrest to appear before it for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

This was when the regional police boss allegedly disregarded the authority of the court which had ordered him, his agents, servants and privies to produce and deliver the seized items to the owner in their original state.

When the case was called again on Tuesday April 17, this year, the police commander failed to turn up, so the court adjourned the case to April 24, 2007.

The plaintiff explained that the court action was necessitated by the actions, behaviours and comments of the defendants.

DCoP Opare-Addo was sued with the Brong Ahafo Regional State Attorney and Mr. Malcom Barnes.

The plaintiff as well asked the court presided over by Justice E.A. Assan to demand for him, special and general damages from the defendants, as the seizure of the equipment, according to the writ, prevented the company from operating although it was duty-bound to pay its workers.

The plaintiff stated that the company was incurring losses and losing contracts as some of its contracts had to be cancelled as a result of the incident.

According to the writ, the plaintiff, generally operating in the Brong Ahafo Region, particularly in the Nkronsia and Agosa communities, recently opened a site at Subinso, where the equipment were installed for timber business.

The plaintiff had security personnel at the site, having sought permission from the relevant authorities for the relocation.

He told the court that he as well had other valuables and company property in a house at Wenchi, where he resided.

He gave assurance in the writ that he had documents on all the property, including timber equipment, which would be tendered in evidence during trial.

Mr Patel stated that on November 10 and 11, 2006, the defendants, under the instructions of DCoP Opare-Addo and with the assistance of one Richard Dekyi, without any provocation, stormed the company's Subinso site, where they unlawfully made away with the items.

The court was told that the alleged stolen items were kept in the custody of Malcom Barnes.

The plaintiff submitted that although he had made several attempts to prove he was owner of the property by issuing documents covering them, the defendants refused to release them.

According to the plaintiff, the defendants' actions constituted professional negligence, on the grounds that they had failed to carry out thorough investigations before seizing the items.

Nonetheless, in his statement of defence, DCoP Opare-Addo opposed the order to release the equipment and tools on the grounds that they were allegedly stolen from the sawmill of Malcom Barnes at Nkronsia.

He stated in his affidavit that the items were being used as exhibits in the on-going police investigations, and that the release of the items would adversely affect investigations and prosecution.

Source: Daily Guide

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