By Bernice Bessey .
Delai Kwasi Brempong, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency by-election, has denied claims that his house was stockpiled with firearms.
According to man, near whose premises the electoral violence occurred, he is a civil, professional and innocuous pharmacist, who has no business or so ever to use a firearm in finding remedies to save human lives.
Per his evidence before the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry, a body, setup by President Akufo-Addo to unravel the incident leading to the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence, his house is not even a warehouse, as was being suggested by some persons.
Testifying before the commission on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, he established: “I put on record that in my life, I have never lawfully or unlawfully acquired firearms. I also want it on record before the commission that I am a pharmacist by profession, and I would have no business at all acquiring firearms, because there is no use of firearms in the practice of pharmacy, and I’m also under oath to protect human lives.”
The text below is 33:49 minutes out of over two hours evidence given by Mr Kwasi Brempong before Justice Short’s commission:
I asked, where are you, and they said they were sent to the university hospital, so some other people were also arrested and send to East Legon Police Station.
At About 10 thereabouts, then the National Organiser, retired Captain Joshua Akamba, came and he drew my attention that some of the victims were in the hospital, so we should go and visit them. Please, I have jumped to this end. Before then that National Chairman actually called, that was around just after 9:00, and asked where I was, and I said I was home, and then in about 10 minutes, he came.
Actually, when he came, I was in the bathroom, so he had to wait for a while, and I came to the office. So, as soon as I was meeting with him, honourable duty … also came. So they had a short meeting, probably three to four minutes, to discuss what has happened and what was the way forward.
We came to the consensus that we couldn’t predict what else will happen, so it was expected that all of us pull out from the election to give the police the opportunity to actually find out what had happened, and what would happen again.
So, about 9: 20, 9:25, the National Chairman held a shot press conference on the stairs in front of my corridor downstairs, that the NDC was pulling out of the election, and that all our polling agents should leave the polling stations and report for a meeting.
So after that, a lot of people were trooping into the house. I think the information was all over. Then Captain Akamba, that is the National Organiser, came and mentioned that some people were in the house and they may need assistance.
So, in the company of the three of the police officers who were left in my house, we went to Legon Hospital. When we got there, we saw seven wounded; seven wounded victims. So we asked of the doctor in charge and we left some money and our contact numbers, that, in case they were distressed, they can call me and get back to them.
A lot of people were trying to come in, but we realised that was going to be nuisance to treatment, so we wanted to go out. So we wanted to leave. When we were about leaving the entrance of the hospital, then we saw eight other people coming in.
Apparently, those were the people arrested and sent to East Legon Police Station. They were being led by on Mr Agbeshie Mutso, who actually went to the police station in the company of some parliamentarians. I recall very well that Hon. Collins Dauda, Hon. John Jinapor and a few others, who actually went to the East Legon Police Station to actually see them.
So we have to actually go back to tell the doctors that these are also victims from the happenings at … Mr Agbeshi had some money, so he left as well. So we actually have to leave. Then we were informed that one person was seriously injured and referred to 37 Military Hospital.
So eventually, we got home, and a lot of people kept coming in, so I had the opportunity to ask eyewitnesses what exactly happened in in front of my house. I was told that perhaps, there are two dozen men dressed in brown khaki trousers and black T-shirts came into the house, apparently, from the direction of the church. You know, you know, you have a church and you have a school, so from the direction of the church, and that when they were coming some of them were firing tawooo as if to scare people.
And then when they came; I think from what one of the people, Mr Nat Tengey, one of the boys who works in my house said, he was moving a car out and he was stopped, and asked that he should open the boot and they wanted to check what was in the boot.
He said he is one these neighbourhood watchdogs under the police, so he was wearing their T-shirt or something, so they asked him, aarh, you are one of them. In fact, he was scared, so he run away.
So what happened was that when he run away, I think the people besieged the gate; there were a lot of people in front of the gate. Actually, I pleaded with some journalists, because a lot of journalists wanted to know when I was going out to vote, then I said I will go 9:00. So there were some journalists, there some supporters, and there were some NDC observers that morning who were coming to my house to take their cards.
Some of them did not take their cards evening before. I recall…
Justice Emile Short, you what?
D: If I had that… for instance, the evening before the Wednesday evening, two observers retired Colonel Asem and retired Colonel Topah, came to collect their tags, but they were not ready, so I knew in the morning some will be directed to meet the officers in charge at my place. In any case, my house; I was the parliamentary candidate and my house was the focal point of activity that morning.
According to the eyewitnesses, when they came they said everybody should lie down, everybody should lie down. I think from the narration there was resistance from some of the people. The armed men, some of them were masked with the brown khaki trousers and black T-shirts. Some with masks were attempting to enter the house, but they were resisted.
Let me also put on record that there are workers in the house – there are two companies that operate from that house – my son has an internet service business. The first building, under there, has two offices where they work from. Then I have my personal office, also at the top. So there was some resistance.
According to the eyewitnesses, I wasn’t there, I am recalling what I am telling the commission what I know. When the people apparently failed and saw that they could not enter the house, they started retrieving towards the left. I am now facing my gate towards the left side; the school behind the church, I heard as they were moving away the people around started hooting at them. I heard they started hooting at them, and then they, in turn, started firing from the left side across my gate to the right; towards Bawaleshie town.
And I want to put on record that from the left side of my house, that is if you are facing my gate to the right, there was evidence of 15 gunshots – eight of the shots landed on trees opposite my gate; please I will be very grateful if the commission could send the police to actually capture this information and bring it to the Commission.
The wounds on the trees are still fresh (people laughing and he was corrected as they were marks), okay the marks on the trees, and then next was a mark on a gate pillar of a house, and opposite my house, that makes it nine. Two marks were on a red container just after my gate; also, that makes it, errr, thus 11, and then four, four cars, which were in the direction towards Bawaleshie at the right of the gate when entering also had bullets through them. Bullets through four cars from the same direction, that is from the left facing my gate – from the left to the right.
The cars were parked to the … four were hit with bullets; I visibly saw from the narrations and what was available for me to see that morning were the 15 either miss-directed or stray bullets shot from the school side across my gate to hit various structures.
I want to put it on record also that my house is not also a warehouse, and, indeed, and truthfully, I have this garage that my son does pack caustic soda occasionally when they are going to blend them, but my house is not a warehouse – It is a seven bedroom house with perfect working offices.
I have received calls from friends, especially my seniors in school, that Delali, they say you a cache of firearms in your house, so some people came wanting to retrieve the arms. It is…I put on record that in my life I have never lawfully or unlawfully acquired firearms.
I also want it on record before the commission that I am a pharmacist by profession, and I would have no business at all acquiring firearms, because there is no use of firearms in the practice of pharmacy, and I’m also under oath to protect human lives. Because my job as a pharmacist is to find remedies for people who are unwell.
It is also said that people came into my house with arms. I have no evidence at all before I left my house and after I had returned, and with all the accounts that the people I knew gave me I knew the people coming to my house were not bringing any arms at all into my house. So till today, I’m yet to know why men in brown trousers, black T-shirts, some covering their faces, should come to the house of a civil pharmacist and unarmed professional and cow innocent supporters, who have actually come to support me in the by-election.
So for the purpose of the commission, this is my short observation of what I have seen and what I have heard of all accusations that have been levelled against an innocuous pharmacist. And, I want to end by saying that, till now, I cannot explain the arms and firing in front of my house. Thank you Mr Chairman.
Lawyer (L): Mr Delali, if I hear you right, you called…
D: I needed it for my failure in 2016; I needed NDC human resources all over the country to come and assist me, but I want it on record that I did not bus any group of people to my house. I have a lot of friends as a practicing Pharmacist since 1982, who came in as either as supporters, spectators, and friends, apart from those who actually had…for the by-election.
L: So then, Mr Delali, I may be right to suggest to you that on the day you didn’t know all the types of people who came to your house and within the school’s parameters, is that not it?
D: Ooh certainly, I didn’t know why.
L: And, it will also be right to suggest to you that you wouldn’t know where these people had come from. I mean every single one of them?
D: Certainly, I wouldn’t know where every single people comes from. I won’t know.
L: So that takes me back to my earlier question that if I suggest to you that some of these people have come as far as from the north, you won’t know, would you?
D: No, I wouldn’t know.
L: Now, you have just told the commission that because you did not believe the results of 2016 you fell on the national NDC, as a party, to supply you with human resource, am I right?
D: I think the idea is for such purpose, but I don’t, with all respect, you put it right. I said there were issues with the results in 2016, the abysmal performance which did not actually show the comparative performance of NDC in the constituency in 2012. So there was research, and we found out certain things … actually known to my bosses from the national and the regions. So they actually assisted me, they guided me, aha. For instance, inability to ensure that polling agents were at post before 1:00 pm does not happen again in this by-election.
L: Mr Delali (D: Yes, Chairman) did you recall something in the cause of your account. You mentioned the fact that you fell on the national executives for human resource?
D: Yes, it was a two way thing. As I said, I was a candidate, but because of the 2016 happenings in the constituency, the whole NDC, at the national and regional levels supervised the constituency. If you want me to explain… Because, after the abysmal performance there were appearances before the regional executives, notes and memorandums were submitted and research was conducted. I’m sure you have heard of Dr Kwesi Botchway’s report, for instance. So a lot of researches were actually done on the abysmal performance in my constituency.
L: Now, these persons (human resources) that were supplied by the national NDC [executives], did you have any specific purpose for them?
D: I think, I mentioned that already that the crowd I came to meet in front of my house some of them were observers, and I even gave the name of two colonels (rtd), who the previous night came looking for their accreditation as observers. So among the people, I came to meet, I certainly knew that some were observers, others were supporters, others were just onlookers, especially after the incident. You already said there was a shooting incident. In fact, most of the people who came were people around.
You know, there are lots of kiosks surrounding me, and I actually stay at La Bawaleshie; it is a traditional setup, so you will agree with me, curiosity was aroused. And, also, as I have said, there were journalists who were actually waiting to see when I was going to vote so that they will grant me interviews.
So everybody there had a purpose; everybody – either an onlooker, spectators; somebody who was curious; somebody who was waiting for accreditation; somebody who was an observer and so on. I mean I cannot enumerate all of them, but I think they were purposefully there, one way or the other, related to the by-election.
L: That you personally didn’t know the purpose of every single individual?
D: No I wouldn’t know.
L: Would you know, for instance, if I suggest to you that some of these individuals had come as far as from the North were there to provide security, would you know?
D: Not directly, because I also want it on record that just before I was going out of my house… I went out unaccompanied; I went out in my car alone, because I did not see any need for any special security. I drove back to my house when my son called me because so far as I know Ayawaso West in which the University of Ghana resides, where I even worked for 15 years, I thought is one of the safest and is a stereotype situation for Ghana.
So I drove out alone. So even if there are people with security backgrounds, I think the role was not for security, like the colonels who came, they were coming as observers.
L: Very well, now, are you able to tell the commission what time it was when you returned home?
D: I think before 8:30. Just round 8:25, 8:30. By then I was at the block factory. So I am sure by the time I have clearance and all that, probably by nine, I should be getting home.
L: What time did voting begin?
D: Between six, seven.
L: So, then it is right for me to suggest to you that by the time you got to you house voting had be going for two hours. Is that right?
D: Yes sir.
L: And yet you tell this commission that you had people in your house two hours into voting who were supposed to be observers, am I right?
D: Yes, Mr Chairman, and let me added though, honourable Sam George will, if invited to this commission will testify to that, that as at the time there was this confusion at the Bawaleshie polling stations, he had observed, errrh, about 17 observer tags for NDC who had not yet come; out of 21, only four had theirs. But, excuse me to say this is off record, but it may be of interest to you.
L: Since you have mentioned honourable Sam George, are you aware that Hon. Sam George, Hon. Nii LampteyVanderpuye and the NDC Women Deputy Organiser came to your house that morning?
L: Where were you?
D: I was out! Erm, I may explain that one too to you if (L: Very well!). Erm, I actually scheduled with some journalists to vote at nine, so it was by invitation, to actually get back home just before time so that I can go to…
L: Very well, so that you will agree with me, won’t you, that because you were not around you wouldn’t even know the convoy they brought?
D: He he! I have spoken to them, I don’t think they came in a convoy. I don’t think, they came with a convoy into my house? I have no evidence that they came in a convoy.
L: So then you wouldn’t know, if I suggest to you, that they came in a convoy of four … and about 15 motorbikes, you won’t?
D: To my house?
D: I wouldn’t know, but please an important thing, when Hon. Vanderpuye actually came my son told me he met him in person; he entered the house alone. So want you to have that on record. So even if he came with a convoy, he went into the house.
L: So then what you are saying is, these honourable members, and the deputy women organiser, who came to the area did not enter your house, is that what you are saying?
D: They Ooh, am not suggesting that. Please note that the deputy women’s organiser was actually my manager, dealing with my whole campaign so she has access to the house in and out.
L: Okay. What about hon. Sam George and Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, did they enter your house?
D: I did not have any evidence of Hon Sam George entering house, but Hon. Nii Vanderpuye did entered the house and asked of me from my son.
L: You wouldn’t also know, would you, if I suggest to you that the confrontation that took place around your house was between the National Security men and the motorbike riders, would you?
D: I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t given those details, but the little detail I had about the confrontation of the two was because from the gentlemen from my house, Mr Nat Tengey, who was driving out of the house, was stopped and his vehicle inspected, and according to him, the way the threats were going he had to find a way from the car.
L: Now, you have talked about some wounded man you visited at the hospital at the University’s hospital, did you have any interactions with these men?
D: In fact, a very brief and short interaction; in their state, apart from saying ooh get well soon, we are here to assist you and all that, they were actually receiving medical attention.
L: So, then, because the interaction was short you wouldn’t even know their names, would you?
D: Oh no, I personally did not ask for their names, I was led by, as I said, by a Regional Secretary and the Regional Organiser.
L: And, you wouldn’t also know where from Ghana they had come from?
D: I did not find that out.
L: You wouldn’t also know the reason that brought them to the vicinity of your house, would you?
D: I thought, I have given you an indication as to what possibly the purpose of these people was.
L: They are currently staying with the wounded men at the hospital?
D: I did not ask them specifically whether they were observers or just onlookers, or they were just supporters, I did not specifically ask them.
L: So, then as you sit here, you don’t not even know what caused the wounds, do you?
D: I believe they were shot, for all the evidence that were available in front of my house, I believe 99% that they were shot.