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26.05.2004 General News

Farmer testifies at NRC

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Accra, May 26, GNA - Mr Samuel Sarpong Myles, a Farmer and a Former General Merchant from Assin Daaman, on Wednesday appealed to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) to help retrieve his 19 plots of land, whose documents were seized by the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR) in 1979.

He said some Policemen and Soldiers arrested him and charged him with hoarding adding that they auctioned 900,000 cedis worth of his goods on June 4, 1979.

The goods included 1,350 lanterns; clothes; bulbs; drinking glasses; plates and a chainsaw.

Mr Myles said his brother was also arrested and the two of them were taken to court, adding that the judge remanded them for three months at the Anomabo Prison for their own safety.

Witness said out of the 900,000 cedis worth of goods sold the Police gave him only 12,000 cedis adding that his brother died later out of shock due to threats by the soldiers to kill them. He said in 1984 a mob led by one Ben attacked him in the house, searched him and took away the documents covering the 19 plots of land at Sowutuom and two other plots at Kaneshie.

Mr Myles said due to what he went through, the education of his six children suffered adding that only one of them was able to continue to the University.

Mr Isaac Tibboh Ahinakwa, a Security Officer from Osu, also appealed to the NRC to help him collect his Social Security due him for working with the Atomic Energy Commission for 15 years. He said he was put on the Social Security Scheme, which he initially refused to take because according to the calculations they made he was to receive 167,000 cedis.

Witness said he had worked with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for 10 years before joining the Atomic Energy Commission adding that the entitlements should have covered his 25 years of working.

The Commission had to explain things to Mr Ahinakwa, after which he agreed to take the SSNIT benefit covering the 15 years.

Mr Yaw Fosu, a Driver said the haulage vehicle he was using in 1985 to cart charcoal from Kintampo to Accra was seized by soldiers, who claimed he and his brother had hoarded some goods.

He said after a search at his father's house at Techiman nothing was found adding that the soldiers beat him and he was asked to hop and roll for about two hours.

Witness said one of the soldiers used an object to hit his waist and that seriously affected him, adding that he was admitted at the Holy Family Hospital at Techiman for three days and had to stay at home for three months to receive herbal treatment. He said due to the injury he could not walk for a long distance or stand in an upright position.

Opanin Kofi Amposah Kumah, who said he was the Convention People's Party (CPP) Chairman at Praso, told the NRC that soldiers arrested him and imprisoned him for almost a year at the Ussher Fort prisons for allegedly going into jubilation when General Emmanuel Kwesi Kotoka, a Member of the erstwhile National Liberation Council, was killed in an abortive coup d'etat.

He said the soldiers also arrested his wife with their one-and- a-half- month old baby adding that both mother and child stayed in prison for seven months resulting in the mental derailment of the child. Opanin Kumah said two of his sisters were also arrested for the same allegation and spent seven months in prison adding that his house was demolished and cocoa farm burnt down.

He said while in prison he was asked to carry the faeces of the other inmates adding that he did this for some time but at a point he refused and based on this he was put in a special prison where they never put the light off.

released he suffered visual impairment adding that his children stopped schooling and were now doing menial jobs to earn a living.

He appealed to the Commission to recommend to the government to pay him some compensation. Chief testifies at NRC, forgives molesters Accra, May 25, GNA - Nii Odai Ayiku, Chief of Nungua in Accra, who went into exile in 1985, has told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that he had forgiven all those who molested him after the December 1981 coup.

Nii Ayiku, known in private life as Enoch Otu Quaye, told the Commission's resumed public hearing in Accra of a series of military brutalities he suffered for allegedly being an enemy of the revolution, saying that he had forgiven anyone who had a hand in brutalising him. Two elders of the Nungua stool accompanied the Chief to the Witness seat on Wednesday, and there was a retinue of royalty in the Witness gallery as well as a crowd in the public gallery in a show of solidarity as the Witness gave evidence.

The Witness, who was enstooled on March 25, 1958, said a few days after the December 31 1981 coup, four Police Inspectors picked him from his home to the La Police Station, claiming that the Superintendent Police in charge had invited him.

He said when he got there he was bundled into one of three waiting military vehicles and told that he was being driven to Gondar Barracks to the Office of the then Head of State, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, who wanted to see him.

Witness said after waiting for two-and-half hours, Flt Lt Rawlings telephoned the Office and asked the respondent to ask him to wait. Witness said Flt. Lt. Rawlings called again two-and-a-half hours later and instructed that he should be given a seat in the guardroom.

"My lord, I have not seen him until today. I spent 13 days in the guardroom, and when I asked when JJ was coming to see me, the soldiers said I should not ask that question, for I would not go home again if I did," Witness said.

Nii Ayiku said the day after his release, soldiers surrounded his house at Nungua at dawn and he to meet a weeping Flying Officer Odoi, who told him that the then Head of State had ordered him and the soldiers to bring him dead or alive.

He said the Flying Officer, said the Head of State had reports that he led a mob to brutalise members of the June 4 Movement and had already killed 16 of them.

Witness said Flying Officer Odoi, who, he later got to know went into exile, explained that he was weeping because he did not meet any violent scene, and for once would break the military jargon of 'obey before complain', and did not arrest him.

Nii Ayiku said less than an hour after Flying Officer Odoi had left, Warrant Officer II Adjei Boadi, arrived and arrested him and bundled him into a vehicle, and drove him to the Nungua Police Station and handed him to one Inspector Kuloko, and was detained for 17 days during which a soldier came to interrogate him every day.

He said on the 17th day a soldier broke into the cells during curfew hours, brutalized Inspector Kuloko, who was then in a POP, and four other Policemen on duty.

After brutalising him with his weapon, the soldier ordered him to enter a waiting vehicle. He made him to lie prone in the vehicle and the four Policemen were ordered to lie on top of him.

The soldier told them they were to be executed. He said after driving them to place near the Gondar Barracks, one Dawutey, the Leader of the soldiers, came out to read a charge that Flt- Lt. Rawlings had been using a land at Katamanso to train dissidents to overthrow the Limann Administration instead of using it cultivate food crops to abate hunger.

He said he was brutalized as Dawutey read false accusations of illegal sale of Nungua lands, withdrawal of government monies in the name of Nungua people and spending it frivolously on women. They also accused him of acquiring other assets, illegally. Nii Ayiku said Dawutey put him in a waterlogged cell at the Gondar Barracks and later made him to appear before the Preliminary Investigations Team (PIT), but when the PIT could not level any charge against him, the Chairman made him to write something about chieftaincy and ordered him back into the cell.

He was he was later invited by a radio announcement to appear before the Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC), and quizzed on why he was still the chief of Nungua; his assets and the alleged letter reporting the subversive activities of Flt Lt Rawlings.

He said he was eventually released, but while at Dodowa, at the inauguration of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, some people from Nungua, with about 80 members of the June 4 Movement came to attack him implements but his aides managed to overpower them.

He said the June 4 Movement members later took away four outboard motors, two fishing nets and set his fishing boat on fire. An Executive Instrument was issued later to destool him on September 2 1983, he said, but added that it has since been nullified. Nii Ayiku said he went into exile following the tension.

Another Witness Wendy Akua Serwaa Asiamah, a Journalist formerly with the "Daily Graphic" newspaper, told the Commission that she was wrongly accused of being an agent of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and invited from her office to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in 1982 and again in 1983 for questioning. She said, while she was away on a coverage assignment in Kenya under the sponsorship of the Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM), there was a demonstration that that some people had been sent outside the country in exchange of Mr Michael Soussoudis.

Ms Asiamah said she was linked with CIA activities and was questioned on the source of her sponsorship to Kenya, adding that in spite of the fact that ASWIM wrote to defend her.

Witness, who said she wanted her name cleared, told the Commission that she was interdicted after doing a story on the Government consolidation of workers allowances in 1987.

She said Mr Lamptey Mills, of the Internal Revenue Secretariat, now deceased, who gave her the document, was influenced by the then Secretary of Labour and Social Welfare, the late Mr Ato Austin to deny being the source of the document. She said when she confronted the Secretary, the Graphic Management, the Senior Staff, the local Union and the CDR accused her of having been rude to the Secretary and was interdicted for 15 months.

Witness said Graphic failed to respond to her petition to the then Ombudsman and she then followed up with legal assistance from Mr Sam Okudzeto, after which the Ombudsman asked Graphic to reinstate her and her half salary for the period of the interdiction paid her. Although she was reinstated, her half salary was not paid.

She said she was transferred to Koforidua when she was reinstated, without the necessary relief and had to commute from Accra to Koforidua. Also her stories were not used for two years. She said her appointment was later terminated without any stated reasons.