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03.08.2004 Crime & Punishment

"My life is in danger," Witness tells court

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Accra, Aug. 3, GNA - An Accra Circuit Court on Tuesday ordered the Ghana Police Service to give adequate protection to a Prosecution Witness testifying before it in the Sinare electoral fraud case. The order came after Mr Kwame Bediako Asiamah, a Wwitness in electoral fraud case involving Alhaji Saeed Sinare, former National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Ayawaso Central, had told the Court that unknown callers were threatening his life.

Sinare is standing trial for conspiring with Nii Armah, an Electoral Officer, to allegedly make 26 illegal entries into the voters' register. They have both pleaded not guilty. The Court has granted Nii Armah 50 million cedis bail while Sinare is on 20 million cedis bail.

According to Mr Asiamah, a Computer Technician and Zonal Co-ordinator of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), a day before the hearing of the case, he was knocked down by car while he was riding his motorbike. He said the car sped off after knocking him down. Mr Asiamah said after the first hearing, he was nearly beaten by a gentleman but was rescued by some people.

"Last Monday, three men chased me and I had to seek refuge at the Living Bread and Resurrection Power Ministry at Kotobabi. Since then I have not been able to sleep on my bed."

The Court, therefore, asked the Police to give the Witness 24-hour protection if he needed it. It further told Mr Albert Adaare, Counsel for Sinare, to advise his supporters to exercise restraint and allow the law to take its course. "It is highly probable that some of Sinare's supporters would like to put the fear of God into the Witness; Counsel please tell your client to advise his supporters to exercise restraint," the court stated. Mr Adaare condemned the act and said it would take the advice of the Court. "We are committed to see that justice is done to all parties."

Meanwhile Mr Akwasi Bosompem, Counsel for Stanley Nii Armah, told the Court that he had asked for the proceedings of the Court but had not received them. Mrs Wilhemina Hammond, the Presiding Judge, said the Court did not have records of Mr Bosompem's submission. She, therefore, adjourned the matter to August 10.

The case for the Prosecution is that at about 1700 hours on March 22, Asiamah, acting upon a tip off, laid ambush at Accra Newtown "5" and Accra Newtown "12" registration centres. The Prosecution alleged that Mr Bediako saw Nii Armah writing names in the Voter's Register. When Mr Bediako challenged Nii Armah, he mentioned Sinare as the one, who instructed him to make fictitious entries. The Prosecutor said Nii Armah entered 26 names, mainly Muslim sounding names, with fake house numbers in the Register.

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