A 37-year-old resident of Dompim-Pepessa, near Tarkwa in the Western Region, Yaw Atta, has accused the Tarkwa Divisional Commander of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), Chief Superintendent George Kumah, of consigning him to a wheelchair, after failing to restrain his men who were torturing him in his office.
Narrating his ordeal to The Chronicle, Yaw Atta, who operates a local Information Centre at Dompim-Pepessa, said on December 31, 2021, six hooded policemen from the Tarkwa Divisional Command came to his house and arrested him.
He was sent to the Divisional Commander’s office, where he was handcuffed to a plastic chair like a dog and subjected to severe beatings in the presence of Chief Superintendent George Kumah.
He alleged that the hooded policemen continuously hit his knee and ankle with sticks, whilst he was still in a handcuff.
Yaw Atta further told The Chronicle that when he asked the Divisional Commander why he was being subjected to such inhumane treatment, the Commander retorted that he (victim) was using his local Information Centre to malign him.
According to Yaw Atta, he thought the Divisional Commander would intervene for his men to stop his being tortured, but he ignored his plea.
Yaw Atta revealed to The Chronicle that when the hooded peace officers and their boss realised that he could not walk after the torture, they sent him to hospital for treatment.
Though he had now been discharged from hospital, Atta told this reporter that he could not walk because of the severity of the injury he suffered.
Chief Supt. George Kumah’s response
Chief Supt. George Kumah admitted in a telephone interview with The Chronicle that he ordered his men to arrest the victim for insulting him, but denied telling his men to torture him (Yaw Atta).
According to him, Yaw Atta slipped on the staircase on the way to his office, and that he immediately ordered his men to take him to hospital, where he (Commander) personally paid for the victim’s treatment.
When asked by this reporter whether the explanation, that the victim slipped, was not an afterthought, Commander Kumah took offence and asked this reporter, “Are you suggesting I am telling lies?”
When The Chronicle again asked him the crime committed by the victim to merit the deployment of six hooded officers to arrest him, Commander Kumah said the victim used his local Information Centre to refer to him as ‘Sasabonsam’ (Satan).
According to him, Yaw Atta had been charged with offensive conduct pending investigation, and also vowed to initiate civil action against him.
Meanwhile, the Regional Police Command has asked the victim to submit a formal written petition over the conduct of the Divisional Commander on the alleged torture.
Journalist and police trade in accusations
In another development, Solomon Amankwa, a Sports Journalist working with Atinka Media, and the Sekondi police are trading in accusations and counter-accusations over alleged ill-treatment suffered by the former in the hands of the peace officers.
Whilst the journalist claims Lance Corporal Prince Mensah of the Regional Criminal Investigation Department and Intelligence Unit assaulted him leading to blood oozing from his nose, the police, in a statement issued by the Regional Police Public Affairs Unit, also claims the journalist resisted arrest and the officer applied what they described as ‘minimum force’ to eventually overpower him (victim).
But, narrating the ordeal he went through at the hands of the police officer, Solomon Amankwa alleged at a news conference in Takoradi that on January 3, 2022, he parked his car, a Nissan Sentra with registration number GE 1042-12, at the Sekondi Police Barracks when he was on a duty to run sports commentary at the Sekondi Gyandu Park.
He subsequently informed the personnel at the Charge Office that he had parked his car at the Barracks and was going to run commentary at Gyandu Park.
Unfortunately, when he returned to his car, he realised that he had left the car and home keys inside, and locked the doors from outside.
He further said, in the company of a friend, he went to the Charge Office and reported the incident to the personnel and also enquired if they could offer any help to open the car doors. The personnel on duty, however, advised that he report the issue to the Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) office for help, to which he obliged, but could not get any from them.
Frustrated over the development, Amankwa alleged that he decided to break into his own car in order to retrieve the keys. He, however, admitted that he failed to inform the Charge Office when he took that decision.
Lance Corporal Prince Mensah, who was not in uniform, spotted him and mistook him for a thief.
According to the victim, he introduced himself and designation to L/Cpl Mensah, but the latter would not listen to him and rather subjected him to beatings.
He then rushed to the Charge Office for help, but was pushed back for L/Cpl Mensah to continue with the beatings.
When the beatings ceased, Amankwa alleged that he was detained.
Following the severity of the assault, the victim told the press conference that the Western Regional Police Command held a meeting with the management of the radio station.
Stephen Kwame Yeboah, Mathew Dadzie and one Emmanuel Freeman and another witness, who formed the management team of Atinka Media Group, attended the meeting.
The police team, on the other hand, was led by the Regional Commander, the Takoradi Divisional Police Commander, ACP Yao Tettegah, the Takoradi Central Crime Officer, DSP Kweku Ayepah, and DSP Olivia Adiku.
At the meeting, the victim said the Police Command took his statement and that of the witness and promised to get back to them.
Matthew Dadzie and Stephen Kwame Yeboah, who were at the said meeting, also confirmed the meeting to this reporter.
Regrettably, whilst they were waiting for further action from the police, the peace officers rather issued a statement on January 4, incriminating him (Amankwa).
The statement issued by DSP Olivia Adiku of the Regional Public Affairs Unit confirmed that the victim parked his Nissan Sentra vehicle at the Police Barracks, but without notice to any police officer at the station.
The statement added that the victim was later spotted searching for a piece of metal in an accident vehicle parked at the station, apparently to use it to open his car door.
The police officer arrived at the scene and upon suspicion, questioned him about his activity and warned him to leave the barracks.
Solomon Amankwa, according to the statement, refused, and this compelled the officer to decide to arrest him for further interrogation.
The statement continued that the victim resisted arrest, and the officer applied minimum force to eventually effect his arrest, and sent him to the station.
The statement further added that on the same day, around 2:45pm, the Sekondi Divisional Command held a meeting with management of Atinka Media Group, and assured them of thorough investigations into the incident.
But Solomon Amankwa, at the press conference, denied the police statement, describing it as palpable falsehood that he did not serve notice to the police of parking his car at the barracks. The victim also denied that he searched for a piece of metal from an accident vehicle parked at the barracks.
Solomon Amankwa believes the statement issued by the police had rather portrayed him as a liar and was ready to fight to ensure justice.