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08.05.2005 Regional News

Queenmother operates secret 'prison'

By Public Agenda
Queenmother operates secret 'prison'
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The Amasaman District Magistrate Court on Tuesday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the Nkosuohemaa of Akim Asikuma in the Abuakwa District of the Eastern Region for allegedly operating a 'secret prison'.

The Nkosuohemaa, Nana Safowaah, is the manageress of the Shell Filling Station at Abeka main town, where she is alleged to be operating a cell into which she locks her employees who flout her orders.

Nana Safowaah is believed to have around 20 employees and anytime an employee commits an offence, the Queen mother, without recourse to the law allegedly puts the suspect behind bars.

Initial information Public Agenda gathered indicate that last year one of her workers was placed in the cell for a week before he was finally released. More information about the cell came to public notice two weeks ago when the Queen mother ordered an employee called Collins Obeng Agyare to be locked up for two days. Obeng-Agyare's plight only came to the open when Appiah Kubi, a musician who composed the popular song “Merepe aberewa na me ne no atwe mpena” ( I am searching for an old lady to be my lover), on Sunday, 24th April went to the filling station to shop. Appiah Kubi confided in Public Agenda that sometime last week news got to him that his friend, Obeng-Agyare, an employee at the station had been placed in the Queen mother's cells for 48 hours without food. Appiah Kubi said while his friend was at the cell, he was never released to urinate or defecate. To add salt to injury, food was always thrown at him in the manner monkeys are fed in cages.

According to Appiah Kubi, he personally contacted the Queen mother to release Obeng- Agyare, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Apparently disturbed by the inhuman treatment of his friend, he blew the whistle at the Lapaz Police post, where the officer in charge dispatched two officers to release Obeng-Agyare from the cells and cause the arrest of the Queen mother.

The police officers who went to rescue the prisoner met with stiff resistance from the Queen mother's private bodyguards who allegedly threatened to shoot them. Sensing danger, the officers called for reinforcement, but the reinforcement could not enforce the release of Obeng-Agyare from the cell. According to Appiah Kubi, the exchanges attracted onlookers to the scene who after gathering that an employee had been illegally locked up in a cell, rallied behind the police and eventually released the captive.

Appiah told Public Agenda that after Obeng-Agyare was set free, the police summoned the Queen mother to the Tesano Police Station, but she called off their bluff. The police then issued a writ of summons on her last Friday, April 29 to appear before the Amasaman District Magistrate Court on Tuesday, May 3, but she failed to show up.

When Public Agenda visited the Filling Station at Abeka on Tuesday our news team gathered that the Queen mother had traveled to the United States with her bodyguard. All attempts to get details of her travel proved futile since all the attendants at the filling station were tight lipped.

A telephone number supposedly belonging to a co-manager and husband of the Queen mother did not get through when Public Agenda called. It was later learnt that he had also traveled outside the country.

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