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10.09.2004 General News

Armed police descend on Danny Ofori Atta

By Chronicle
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... 24hrs after raid on Gbevlo Lartey's residence
BARELY 24 hours after the former commander of Ex-President Rawlings' dreaded commando unit, Lt. Col (Rtd) Gbevlo Lartey's Ridge residence in Accra was raided, another group of armed police personnel descended on the residence of the leader and chairman of the Council of Elders of the EGLE party, Mr. Danny Ofori-Atta, and ransacked his rooms, on the allegations that he was possessing weapons, this paper can report.
According to The Chronicle's Intelligence at about 11.30 a.m. yesterday, two senior police officers from the National Police Headquarters, 12 men in plain clothes and four women also in plain clothes, surrounded the house of the EGLE chairman to conduct a search.
This paper learnt that even though these armed personnel in five police vehicles parked at the entrance of the residence of Mr. Danny Ofori-Atta, could not provide their ID cards and search warrants, they were allowed to conduct the search.
The team combed the yard and eventually entered his rooms in search of weapons but could not find anything, except a registered single barrel pump-action gun, Which Mr. Ofori Atta handed over to them, without resistance.
When The Chronicle contacted the EGLE party boss, he confirmed the story and expressed surprise about the conduct of the police.
“At about 11.30am, my boys told me that there were police personnel in my yard.
Immediately, I came out and, to my surprise, saw policemen armed to the teeth in my yard and with metal detector and when I approached them, they told me they were conducting a search in my house on the allegations that I have concealed a weapon.”
He told The Chronicle in a telephone interview yesterday that, when he quizzed the police officers about their ID cards and their search warrants they could not show them, but stated that they were coming from the Police Headquarters, Room 13 of the third floor.
Mr. Ofori-Atta, who described the morning police action as political intimidation and harassment, revealed that that was the second time police had come to search his house.
According to him, in the first search some time ago, there were 60armed policemen.
He however indicated his preparedness to visit the Police Headquarters today to protest against the police action, despite the fact that they were polite and humane to him.
When The Chronicle reached Patrick Ampewuah, the deputy director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), he denied knowledge of the incident.
“In fact, I was not aware of the incident but these things are normal. It is not necessary that we must know everything. We have regional and district directors, who may act upon tip-offs.”
He was of the view that as the police go about their legitimate duties, they perform it rightly to prevent any eventuality, adding that security matters should be treated with circumspection.
It would be recalled that in our yesterday's edition, we reported that military men cum armed policemen at dawn Wednesday, this week, besieged the home of the Lt. Col. (Rtd.) Gbevlo Lartey, the former commander of feared 64th reserved battalion on an allegation that occupants in the house were throwing stones at the office of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The armed team failed to arrest Gbevlo Lartey, but grabbed his uncle in law and two of his nephews and took them to the Adabraka police station.
This paper had it that a security officer on duty at the office of EC reported an alleged throwing of stones coming from the direction of Flt. Col. Gbevlo Lartey's house to the night patrol team and the team quickly invaded the house to arrest them after manhandling them.
According to the report, the three victims were detained from dawn at the Adabraka police station and were asked to give statements in respect to the alleged stone throwing. They were however granted a police enquiry bail at about 4pm yesterday and were asked to report this morning for further interrogation.

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