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11.06.2004 Regional News

Auditor demands investigation into his unlawful arrest and fine

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Koforidua, June 11, GNA - A former Principal Auditor of the Audit Service, Mr Kwesi Mensah Sasu has appealed to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) to recommend for the investigation into his arrest and an unlawful fine imposed on him and confiscation of his car by the erstwhile Eastern Regional Task Force.

Testifying before the Commission at Koforidua on Thursday, Mr Sasu, who was stationed at Akropong-Akwapim in the Eastern Region said in mid-June 1986, he led a team of audit staff to undertake auditing of public offices in the Yilo Krobo District,

He said on reaching Somanya, near the District Assembly offices, they heard three warning shots from a vehicle which was chasing theirs thereby forcing their Land-rover to stop.

Mr Sasu said immediately the other vehicle stopped by theirs and five armed men in mufti came out and enquired about who their Leader was and when he told them he was the one, he was shoved into the other vehicle and sped off towards Koforidua.

He said while on the way, he demanded to know the reason for his "kidnapping" but there ensued a brawl between him and the men during which he was brutally assaulted till they reached Koforidua and he was locked up at Police cells.

Witness said while in the cells he got to know that the men were among the Regional Task Force led by the then Regional Secretary, Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum, alleging that he Mr Sasu relations were forced to offer 60,000 cedis before he was released at the end of June.

He said in July of the same year, he was re-arrested at midnight from his house, his car keys seized and was locked up again at the Koforidua Central Police Station where he remained there for two months without trial before being transferred to the James Fort Prisons where he was subjected to several rounds of torture, saying all this time, he had not been told his offence.

Mr Sasu said in October 1986, he was put before the National Public Tribunal and when the Chairman demanded to know his charge, a spokesman for the Task Force alleged that he was rude towards the Regional Secretary when he was arrested at Somanya and this made the Tribunal Chairman to acquit and discharge him for want of prosecution.

On his return to Koforidua, Mr Sasu said he received a letter from the Task Force asking him to pay an amount of 296,870.70 purportedly embezzled by him, warning that if he failed to pay he "risked facing revolutionary action".

Witnessed said he protested against the alleged charges and referred to the Tribunal judgment but this resulted in another arrest and detention in Police cells, saying because of the embarrassment caused to his relations, they raised a loan and sold a family plot to defray the amount before he was released.

Mr Sasu said on October 13, 1986, he received a letter from his employers dismissing him from the Audit Service and this made him to petition the Chairman of the PNDC who set up an investigation into the matter.

Witness said his dismissal was converted into retirement and he was paid some benefits for the twenty-three-and-half years he served. Witness appealed to the NRC to demand appropriate pension benefit which was paid to him in July 1992, and various reparation and refund of the amount extorted from his family as having been embezzled, reparation for his image, loss of employment and refund of the cost of his car.

Another witness, Madam Edith Budu Etei of Kpando, told the Commission of the forced sale of her wax prints by soldiers at the Kpando market following the June 4 Uprising. She said the proceeds and some of the textiles were confiscated.

She said there was a swelling around her ear and jaw which she claimed resulted from the slaps she received from a soldier for daring to demand to know the reason for the forced sale of her wares.

Consoling her after inspecting the lump, Bishop Palmer-Buckle, a member of the Commission, reminded her that just as Jesus Christ bore the wounds suffered during his crucifixion as a sign of his love and not pain, so also must Madam Etei bear her swell as a mark of her love for her family for whom she struggled to trade to care for and also forgive her torturers.

A former storekeeper of the Mpraeso branch of the former GNTC, Mr Davidson Dede Kissi Owusu, narrated his ordeal at the hands of soldiers in July 1979, during the AFRC era, when, while serving customers with sugar and rice, eight men led Policemen to arrest him for allegedly selling the commodities at suspected under-weight.

Witness said while at the Police station, a group of soldiers arrived and demanded the whereabouts of the "GNTC kalabule Manager", and on being told he was behind the counter, each of them came and slapped him while one who had a weapon, hit his face with the butt sending him crashing on to the ground bleeding profusely.

He said he spent the night in the cells and by daybreak his face was swollen while his T-shirt was drenched in blood from the injuries he received and showed the Commission the shirt, which he said he kept over the past 25 years.

Mr Owusu said the following day the Deputy Superintendent of Police in-charge of the area came to see him and ordered him to go and treat himself and later report to the Police.

He said after receiving treatment at the Atibie Government Hospital for two weeks after which a medical officer, Dr Bawuah, advised him to seek further treatment at the Agogo Hospital. Mr Owusu thanked God for keeping him alive to tell his story. 11 June 04

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