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07.05.2009 Crime & Punishment

HO POLICE BRUTALISE 29YRS OLD MAN…and destroy his eardrum for challenging prison officers for jumping bank queue

By Samuel Abgewoode, Ho. - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The members of the Ho Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) flats branch of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) have petitioned the Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Amenowode, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church, and the Ho District Police Commander, against police brutalities on one of its members, Mr. Bubu Ametame.

The Church said it could not sit idle for its members to be brutalised by police officers whose primary duty was to maintain law and order, and appealed to the Regional Minister and relevant institutions to institute an independent committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the police assault on the 29 year oldman in a bank.

Addressing a press conference in Ho, the Pastor in charge of the church, Rev. L. K. Dzanku, said on Sunday 3rd May this year, Mr. Bubu Ametame reported to him (Pastor) and the entire congregation about how police personnel assaulted him (Mr. Ametame) at the Ghana Commercial Bank, Ho main branch, on April 29th 2009 without any provocation.

He continued that Mr. Ametame, a staff of the National Population Council, went to the Bank early in the morning, that fateful day, to withdraw money from his account and collect a balance statement for his boss.

Rev. Dzanku said when the bank was opened at 8: 30 a.m., he (Ametame) joined the normal queue, which was moving smoothly, until two prison officers (warders) jumped to the front of the queue, in front of Mr. Ametame, who, together with others behind him, protested and insisted that they join the queue properly.

According to the man of God, even though Mr. Ametame and others protested for sometime, the two prison ladies were allowed to remain where they joined the queue, while the security personnel of the bank showed displeasure at the conduct of the two. But to the surprise of the customers of the bank, a few minutes after the two ladies left, they returned with a man who claimed to be a policeman, but was not in uniform.

Rev. Dzanku explained that at the time the two prison ladies came to the bank with the alleged policeman, Mr. Ametame had also collected his money and was sitting in front of the Bank accountant to collect the bank statement for his boss.

He said the prison ladies looked round and pointed at Mr. Ametame, and the police personnel told him that he (Ametame) was under arrest.

He said without any provocation or resistance, the alleged policeman started to assault him by slapping him several times, handcuffed him, dragged him out of the banking hall, and at the entrance of the banking hall the police officer on duty also joined in beating him with the butt of the gun, and later dragged Mr. Ametame across the tarred road to the police station, which is just opposite the bank, where he was put in police cells.

Rev. Dzanku further explained that in the process, the GH¢200 Mr. Ametame withdrew from his account got missing, together with his mobile phone.

Later in the day, Mr. Ametame's boss heard of the matter and bailed him, after he was made to pay GH¢35.

The Rev. Minister stressed that the continuous assault of the police on innocent people had assumed an unpardonable levels, and called on churches, other religious bodies and civil society groups to condemn the negative practice, and asked them to join the crusade in ensuring justice for all manner of people without discrimination.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bubu, who was refused a police medical form, was later sent to the Volta Regional Hospital by friends, where he was diagnosed as having musculoskeletal pain and trauma, due to the second degree assault, and barotrauma of the ear which had a perforated eardrum.

Dr. Hintermann Mbroh, who diagnosed him, advised the patient not to involve himself in hard work until he returned to the hospital for a further checkup.

The Ho District Police Commander, Superintendent S. K. Tettey, has meanwhile denied all the allegations leveled against the police personnel.

According to him, he was surprised about the conduct of Mr. Ametame and the church, because the charge leveled against the suspect was offensive conduct, but upon a plea the prison officers decided to withdraw the case.

The Police Commander explained that the police could only give out medical forms to people who made formal complaints, noting that in the case of Mr. Ametame, he did not report any case to the police.

Touching on the issue of assault, Superintendent Tettey said the police only went to the bank to invite the the suspect, but on their way back to the station he deicded to lie in the middle of the road, thereby causing a traffic jam.

He continued that it was at this point that the police officer carried him across the road to the charge office.

He noted that the church leaders should have first visited the police to ascertain facts of the case, before rushing to the press with it.

The Ghana Commercial Bank Manager, Mr. Emmanuel K. A. Affum, on hs part, said the Bank was not aware that Mr. Ametame was assaulted in the banking hall, and that it was the following day when he came to his (Manager's office) with the assault case, that he advised him to visit the hospital.

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