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17.06.2004 General News

Police detained me on suspicion - Witness

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Accra, July 17, GNA - Mr Okesseku Afari Mintah, a Witness at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Thursday said he was detained for nine months at the Homicide Unit of the Police Headquarters because he was suspected for the murder of one Daniel Kobi in July 1992. He said he knew nothing about the death of Kobi, then a businessman at Asokwa, the same town he (Witness) was also trading adding that the case was sent to court and he was remanded in custody. Mr Mintah said he had a problem with the two Policemen, who arrested him because they refused to prosecute a theft case he reported about one Alhaji.
He said this resulted in a scuffle between he and the Policemen adding that the two severely beat him until he lost consciousness on July 30 1992.
Witness said he later gained consciousness at the Asokwa Police Station with swollen face with blood in his mouth and mentioned the Policemen as Detective Inspector B.B. Teye and Sergeant Afriyie. They told him that he had been arrested for the murder of Daniel Kobi. He said though his Lawyer pleaded for bail he was refused. Mr Mintah, who said he was currently human rights and anti corruption activist, noted that he wrote a petition to the then Inspector-General of Police (IGP) for unlawful detention but nothing came out of that.
He appealed to the NRC to help him find a job.
Justice Amua Sekyi, Chairman of the Commission, explained to him that in murder cases, magistrates could not grant bail adding that the then State Attorney was performing his duties as required. He advised him to contact the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) since they may need his services. I was not satisfied with retrenchment benefits - Witness Accra, June 17, GNA - Mr Mathew Kwesi Owusu, a staff of the Cocoa Board (Cocobod), who was retrenched in 1985 on Thursday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that he and others were retrenched but they were not happy about the way their entitlements were calculated and paid.
He said in that year, the Government increased the minimum wage from 35 cedis to 70 cedis adding that the Company rather used the 35 cedis to calculate their entitlement, which they thought, was not right. Mr Owusu said the payment was also spread over three years adding that the workers had since received payment for only a year and were yet to receive that for the remaining two years.
"Some workers even had their amounts reduced while others did not receive anything at all'', he said, adding that in spite of numerous petitions to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Castle and the Ombudsman, nothing was heard.
Mr Owusu appealed to the Commission to recommend the payment of the two years' entitlements in bulk adding that it should be calculated with the 70 cedis and not the 35 cedis.
He said the Cocoa Board must also pay them the difference of the 35 cedis used in calculating the entitlements they received.
Another Witness, Madam Ama Hemaa from Kumasi said her uncle, Mr Charles Antwi, a Businessman on whom she solely depended, died about 20 years ago out of shock because soldiers seized the bags of sugar and flour in his shop at the Kumasi Market.
She said her uncle had to run away from Kumasi to seek refuge in Accra since the soldiers wanted to arrest him for allegedly hoarding goods.
Madam Hemaa, who broke down in tears, said all the family depended on him adding that his death had brought pain and suffering to the family including the man's four children.
She appealed to the Commission for help adding that looking after her two children was a problem since she did not know where their father, who was working in Accra, resided.
Mr James Adu Mensah, a Witness, said one John Ofosu claimed ownership of a Benz bus he bought in Germany and shipped to Ghana with his personal belongings in 1983.
He said Ofosu, who claimed he bought the same bus from Germany, took the bus with the help of some soldiers in 1985 when he (Adu Mensah) had gone back to Germany.
Witness said though the matter was sent to Court and the Judge ruled in his favour, Mr Ofosu contacted his brother, who was a soldier and together with some friends they threatened to shoot his Uncle in who was keeping the bus, adding that they removed his belongings and took the bus away.
He said most of his belongings were destroyed since he did not find a better place to keep them when he returned in 1986. Mr Adu Mensah said though his Uncle took the case to the National Investigations Committee (NIC), which gave him a letter to retrieve the bus he did not succeed.
He said he took a loan from the Company he was working with in Germany to buy the bus adding that after paying back the loan he came to Ghana and had since been unemployed.
He appealed to the Commission to recommend some compensation for him.

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