The Minister of State at the National Security Ministry yesterday told the Emile Short Commission that the National Security operative who assaulted the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Sam George, during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election has been asked to “step aside from duty” and make himself available for investigations.
He said the decision was in line with operation procedures of the National Security.
In a video that went viral, the MP for Ningo-Prampram was assaulted by a man who sprang out of one of the vehicles being used by the SWAT team.
Mr Acheampong said per the report he received, when they (SWAT team) were leaving the property, Mr George appeared, using words that caused fear and panic and they tried to restrain him but he ignored the warning and approached the rear of the vehicle on the blind side of the Commander of the team and used words that incensed the operative and made him hit him.
Injuries not by SWAT
Meanwhile, the two ministers at the Ministry of National Security have denied claims that the injuries sustained by victims of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence were from shots fired by operatives of National Security.
The Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, and Mr Bryan Acheampong told the commission that the injuries had rather come from within the property of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate in the election, Mr Delali Kwasi Bimpong.
Ghana News Headlines
For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page
Mr Kan-Dapaah, who was the second witness for the day, said contrary to reports that the SWAT team fired shots that injured the six persons, they could not enter the property since its gates were locked.
According to him, the injuries were possibly caused in the property where the National Security team fired warning shots but not by the SWAT team.
Mr Acheampong, who corroborated the claim, said National Security had picked information on January 30, 2019 that some guns had been stockpiled in the property in question and surveillance was mounted.
He said when they approached the house the next day, they were pelted with stones and they were compelled to fire “warning shots from outside the building and all the people in and out of the building started running away and nine of them were arrested”.
“In the process of the arrest, some minimal force was applied.
They took the nine people to the East Legon Police Station. Six of the nine were injured.
They did not have, according to them (operatives), gunshot wounds, but according to them in the application of their language, minimal force, the six had some injuries and were given police form to go to hospital.
“They deny flatly that they gave the gunshot. They insist that they fired the gunshots outside. Warning shots go up and are not fired at persons.
They were emphatic that the gunshots came from inside the house. They suggest that because the people inside were not trained in weapons, something may have gone off in there that may have caused the injuries.
“We are waiting for the police investigations to ascertain where those people had their injuries from, whether from outside or from within the warehouse,” he said.
Asked if the SWAT team had returned, he said since the names of suspects were named and the police took over the building for investigations, the team did not go back.
“They should have gone and completed the mission.
If they went in and they did not find weapons, I would have been satisfied that at least they went into the property, searched the property and it was safe for me to sleep at night.
They did not enter the property. When they fired the warning shots at the gate, they arrested the nine people and aborted the mission,” he added.
Earlier, Mr Kan-Daapah had told the commission that it was possible that persons who were involved in vigilantism in the past were part of the National Security set up.
He, however, denied allegations that the masked men were all members of a vigilante group affiliated to the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“If the suggestion is that included in the operatives are people who normally belong to a particular vigilante group, that will be surprising.
If some of them in the past participated in some vigilante activities, that could be possible,” he said.
Mr Acheampong told the commission that it would be impossible to recruit persons involved in vigilantism, since the National Security conducted extensive background checks on the personnel before engaging them.