Parliament to probe police brutality at Bortianor
Mr Andrew Asiama Amoako, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament has directed the House’s Committee on Defence and Interior, and the Leadership of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to probe the Bortianor Police shooting incident in which five lives were lost.
He charged them to present their report to the House by the end of June 2023.
Mr Amoako gave the directive when he presided over the House, during which Mr Sylvester Matthew Tetteh, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro in his statement requested for a Parliamentary probe into the police brutality which led to the death of five persons in his Constituency.
On the 8th of June 2023, five people were killed in an incident at Bortianor in the Greater Accra Region, which the Police said it was a shoot-out with suspected land guards.
However, Mr Tetteh in his statement on the floor of the House said report from the community indicated that the five persons who were shot and killed in broad daylight at Bortianor by the Police, were not land guards but rather sand winners; stating that this was because the community knew them as such.
He noted that the five deceased people were Abraham Tetteh, Abraham Tetteh Wayo (aka Brother), Augustine Nii Kwei (aka Dada Joe), Daniel DK, Joseph Amoakwando and an unidentified field member who operated within the area.
He said the unfortunate incident had brought an uneasy calm in the community.
The MP on behalf of his constituents appealed to Parliament to institute an inquiry into the matter because the people of Bortianor and Kokrobite had rejected the claim by the Police.
“We believe strongly that an inquiry will bring out the truth of this matter and bring calm to the people of my Constituency,” Mr Tetteh stated.
He urged the people of Bortianor and Kokrobite and the surrounding area to remain calm and continue to be law abiding as the competent state agencies take up the matter to unravel the truth.
Mr James Agalga, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bulsa North and Ranking Member for the Parliamentary Select Committee for Defence and Interior, in his contribution supported the call by Mr Tetteh for a Parliamentary probe into the Police brutality in Bortianor.
He consoled the bereaved family of the victims of the Bortianor Police brutality.
He noted that if even the five deceased persons were land guards as alleged by the Police, the proper thing that ought to have been done in the circumstances was for the Police to have attempted to apprehend the suspects; saying, “because our criminal jurisprudence is premised on the presumption of innocence and that presumption of innocence includes suspected land guards.”
He said the shooting to death five Ghanaians, whom the Police alleged to be land guards was unfortunate, which leaves much to be desired.
Mr Agalga noted that members of the Bortianor Community were now saying that they know the victims and that they were not known to be involved in land guard-related activities.
“Sand winning is not the same as land guards related activities, Mr Speaker.”
He said in any case the House in 2019 passed the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, and that this was a law under which suspects who might have engaged in land guardism and vigilantism could be arrested and prosecuted under it.
“While laws are passed by the House, Mr Speaker, it is not for the Police to constitute themselves into death squads and eliminating suspects. It is an unfortunate development, which must be nipped in the bud,” Mr Agalga said.
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the NPP MP for Abuakwa South, in his contribution urged the Speaker to refer the matter to the Defence and Interior Committee of the House for investigation and report back to the House.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, Deputy Minority Whip and NDC MP for Banda and Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, Majority Chief Whip and NPP MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri both supported the call for a Parliamentary inquiry into the matter.
Mr Annor-Dompreh suggested that the matter be referred to the Defence and Interior Committee of the House and the Leadership of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for a probe into the circumstances leading to the shooting to death of five persons in Bortianor.