General Politics

Bloody by-election: Sam George attacker walks free

Government has rejected a recommendation by the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry to prosecute a member of the SWAT team who assaulted a legislator from the opposition party.

The SWAT officer, Mohammed Sulemana, slapped the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, on January 31, during the melee that ensued at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.

Mr Sulemana slapped Mr George in the face and his action, which was caught on camera, added to the allegations that the state-backed SWAT team used excessive force during the confusion that rocked the by-election.

The Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry – which was among other things tasked to look into the circumstances before and during the by-election – recommends the criminal prosecution of Mr Sulemana for the offence of slapping of Mr Samuel George.

However, a government White Paper on the Commission’s report said, it does not accept that recommendation.

The government explained that elsewhere in the same report, the Commission had suggested that Mr Sulemana had “a valid defence of provocation for the said assault.”

Bloody by-election

The Commission was set up by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, following the confusion that rocked the by-election to replace the deceased governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon, Emmanuel Agyarko.

As the elections were ongoing, violence erupted at the La Bawalesie Presbyterian Basic 1 Cluster of School polling station.

National Security forces fired guns and roughed up persons believed to be affiliated to the opposition NDC.

Some persons sustained gunshot wounds.

The commission was then set up to, among other things, “to make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to the events and associated violence that occurred during the Aysawaso West Wuogon by-election.”

Double will be prosecuted

However, the government accepts another recommendation to punish a National Security officer, Ernest Akomea, alias Double, for the unauthorised possession of firearms.

The government said the matter will be referred to the Criminal Investigations Department for further investigations.

Mr Akomea, who was on duty at the La Bawaleshie polling station, said in his testimony to the Commission that he was recruited into the country’s National Security Council in 2017 after completing a three-week training programme.

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