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08.04.2004 General News

I paid bribe to have my fine reduced by NIC -Witness

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Kumasi, April 8, GNA- A petitioner told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Thursday that he was made to pay bribe to have a fine of 1.4 million cedis slapped on him by the National Investigations Committee (NIC) reduced to 282,000 cedis in 1982.

Alhaji Ali Adam, the petitioner, said two soldiers collected from him at the Ashanti Regional Office 400 cedis to have the figure slashed. He said his 140,000 cedis account at the Barclays Bank, Kejetia branch, that had at the time been frozen, was used to offset part of the fine.

The rest of the payment was made on instalment basis. Alhaji Adam was testifying on the NRC's third sitting at the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Hall in Kumasi.

He told the Commission that during the period, he was operating three Neoplan passenger buses, three cargo trucks and a Renault private car and "I was current with my income tax payment". The petitioner said he had parked his private car in front of his house one day in the heat of the revolution when he saw two soldiers come to stand by it.

"Sensing danger, I took cover and I heard them asking for the owner of the car".

Alhaji Adam said after waiting for about half an hour without any response, the soldiers went away.

He said the soldiers later came to seize the vehicle and left word with his son that he should follow up to the barracks, something "I refused to do".

The petitioner said, afterwards, he went to the bank to take some money out of his account but was told by his bankers that he could not make any withdrawals since his account was frozen.

"Disappointed, I made for the post office and found in my letter box a letter inviting me to appear before the NIC.

I refused to go initially but following a radio announcement that I was a wanted person, I obliged and called at the Regional Office". The petitioner said he appeared before the NIC and after it had imposed the "unreasonable fine", two soldiers approached him and said they could help to get it reviewed downwards.

"They demanded for bribe and I gave it to them"

He told the Commission that the private car seized from him was never returned by the soldiers, while he sold some of his trucks to pay the fine.

Another witness, Madam Adwoa Akyamaah from Kyirapatre in Kumasi, said she had a miscarriage following severe flogging by policemen at Obuasi on a frame-up charge of having sold smoked fish above the control price in 1982. "I was made to take off her top dress, rolled my sleet up to the knee level, had a liquid poured on my bare-back, stretched on a bench and callously whipped with cables".

She said the husband lost his job as he always had to send her to the AGC hospital.

He consequently became a drunkard and later died, witness added. Madam Akyaamaa said she had visited the sick daughter of one Kofi Ketewa, a close friend to her husband who was on admission at the AGC hospital.

There, the patient requested that they must send her 'fufu' and so when she got back home, she gave out some smoked fish and ingredients to Ketewa to prepare 'fufu' for the daughter. She said "surprisingly, the man went to the police station and framed me up".

Witness said apart from the beatings and the humiliation, the police seized from her 450 cedis she had on her at the time. Another witness, Mr Nicholas Awuah from Dompoase in the Adansi West district, said one Warrant Officer (WO) Onyina and a group of soldiers seized from him 1,390 Naira in 1982.

"The soldiers gave my brother , Anthony Fofie and myself 10 minutes to give out the money or be shot and killed.

All this while, they subjected us to brutal physical assault. Mr Awuah told the Commission that at the time he was trading in Kente cloth and had taken some kente cloth to Nigeria to sell. Whilst there, he became sick and therefore left them with his brother Fofie to seek treatment back home.

He said Fofie managed to sell the kente cloth and gave 2,000 Naira representing the total amount of money realised to a driver, Kwasi Owusu who was plying between Ghana and Nigeria to be sent to me.

The driver, however, returned only 1,400 Naira and I insisted that "he added the remaining 600 Naira".

He said Owusu who promised that he was going to bring the money rather "brought in soldiers who subjected Fofie, who had then returned from Nigeria and me to brutal beatings and finally took away my money"

Mr Awuah said they were also kept in detention by the soldiers for eight days at the Obuasi police station before they were set free.

The Commission also heard the case of Madam Anna Tawiah from Atonsu-Agogo, a suburb of Kumasi, who in 1984 had her 20 pieces of textiles confiscated at the Tema Port by WO/1 Nkwantabisa.

The textiles were for her personal use and bought whilst she was in Germany. 8 April 04

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