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BNI Operatives Storm Court But Defiant Judge Won’t Budge

Postby Minister of Finance » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:10 pm

The refusal of a defiant judge to allow suspects in a drug case to be re-arrested after being bailed by the court, has led to a standoff with security operatives said to be officials of the Bureau of National Investigations.

The BNI officials swarmed the precincts of the Osu District Magistrate Court in an attempt to re-arrest the four suspects who remain holed up in the courtroom but the trial judge is dead set against that move.

PeaceFM’s Yaw Obeng Manu who is at the scene reports that the court had earlier granted bail conditions including a GHS10,000 each and the seizure of the suspects’ passports about a week ago. But after the suspects met the bail conditions, the security officials refused to administer the bail, a situation that did not go down well with the trial judge, resulting in the tense stand-off.

According to him, so angry was the trial judge, Justice Ellen Anokye, at the conduct of the BNI operatives that she at one point, ordered the arrest of a driver of the BNI for unruly behaviour.

A reinforcement of well-armed police personnel led by the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander Rose Atinga Bio were sent in to calm matters.

It is unclear why the security officers want to re-arrest the suspects, but the impasse has drawn large crowds to the court precincts
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Postby Minister of Finance » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:13 pm

Drama...As BNI Clash With Defiant Judge

There was drama yesterday at the Osu Magistrate’s court near the Accra Sports Stadium when operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) clashed with the trial judge over the custody of three men arrested for narcotic drugs offences.

Vehicles and mobile phones were smashed in the rage that characterized the commotion, which as at press time around 7pm, was yet to be resolved as BNI operatives held people hostage at the court premises.

In the end, armed policemen from the SWAT Operational Unit, led by DCOP Rose Bio Atinga, the Greater Accra Regional Commander, stormed the court premises to save the situation as the Magistrate, Ellen Anokye, was determined to ensure that her orders were carried out.

The suspects, Daniel Djabaah, Eric Owusu-Manu and Frank Bruno Pappoe were last week granted GH¢10,000 bail each with a surety, but they could not fulfill the bail terms until yesterday. Meanwhile, a fourth suspect, Kevin Boateng, was not granted bail.

Additionally, the court had seized their travelling documents and ordered them to report to the BNI every other day.

Matters came to a head at about 3:45 pm when armed BNI operatives decided to re-arrest the suspects, right at the entrance of the court’s premises because, according to them, “there are new developments in the case”.

The BNI used their vehicles to block the path of the suspects who were seated in the vehicles of their counsel.

A scuffle ensued and as it degenerated, the judge, who was sitting on other cases, rushed out to order the BNI to halt the arrests in the court premises.

The BNI then allegedly seized the mobile phone of a driver of a lawyer who was trying to film the incident and in the process, the phone was smashed while a BMW saloon car belonging to one of the defense lawyers was also damaged.

As the suspects retreated to the court premises, the BNI pursued them and in the process, one of the BNI drivers was said to have been detained on the orders of the judge.

Determined to re-arrest the suspects, the BNI operatives then positioned themselves at the entrance of the court while the judge and the suspects were kept inside the courtroom.

At about 4:50 pm, a fully-armed SWAT team arrived and took position before escorting the judge to the scene where the lawyer’s car was smashed.

DCOP Bio Atinga arrived at exactly 5:29pm and after conferring with the judge, the two, together with the armed policemen, again went to the scene where she (judge) narrated what transpired to the police boss.

They came back to the judge’s chamber for a long meeting and as at 6:30pm, they were still locked up in the meeting while the BNI still laid ‘ambush’.

The judge, who was visibly angry, was seen remonstrating with the police boss about the behaviour of the BNI operatives who she described as “trying to disobey the court’s order.

“I will insist that orders of the court are respected”, she told DCOP Bio Atinga, adding, “If you want to arrest suspects, is that the way to go about it?”

According to the judge, the BNI did not have any arrest warrant to re-arrest the suspects, adding, “If you have any reservations about my ruling, you go on appeal.

“The damage they caused to the vehicle, who is going to bear responsibility?” she queried in reference to the lawyer’s car that was damaged.

Juliet Addo-Yobo, one of the defense counsel, alleged that the BNI operatives, in an attempt, to seize the suspects from them, drew a pistol and pointed it at her colleague.

DAILY GUIDE later learnt that DCOP Bio Atinga was able to persuade the judge to release the suspects to her so that she could sort the issue out with the BNI.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) says it has followed closely the security situation and the respect for institutions of state with alarm, regarding what happened at the Osu Magistrate court yesterday.

“AFAG would want to draw the attention of government and stakeholders, most importantly, donor partners to consider ways of restoring confidence and hope in the security forces among the people of Ghana, considering the major elections in 2012. Under President Mills, it seems the BNI and National security apparatus are subject to their own laws and not the laws of the state.

“The on-going stand-off between the police and the BNI at the Osu Circuit Court undermines the authority of the court and attempts to intimidate the judiciary.”

AFAG said it was more alarmed by the silence of the Minister for the Interior on the matter and many others in the past.



Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide
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Postby Minister of Finance » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:15 pm

BNI Boss Sued For Contempt

Lawyers for the drug suspects granted bail by an Osu Magistrate Court on Thursday July 28, have sued the Bureau of National Investigations, (BNI) for Contempt of Court.

Lawyer Julie Ado-Yobo represented Frank Bruno Pappoe while lawyer Robertson Pacha represented Eric Owusu Manu and Daniel Jabaah, the three suspects.

Speaking to Citi News, Julie Ado-Yobo expressed disgust in the actions of the BNI operatives who stormed the court premises to re-arrest the suspects after they had been granted bail by the Magistrate Court.

According to her, the team of defense counsel could not understand why the BNI attempted to prevent the movement of suspects who were freed by a competent court of jurisdiction.

“We the lawyers are going to court for contempt at the Human Rights Court because what happened outside here is an infringement on their fundamental human right”.

The three suspects have since been released by the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Rose Bio Atinga from protective custody after the BNI insisted on taking the suspects away.

Suspects- Daniel Djabaah, Eric Owusu Manu, Frank Bruno and Kevin Boateng currently on the run were arrested at the Kotoka International Airport about a month ago under suspicion that they were dealing in narcotics.

All of them except the fugitive were each granted a 10,000 Ghana cedis bail with a surety last week but were only able to meet the bail terms on Thursday. Their passports were confiscated and were sacked to report to the BNI every week.



Source: Citifmonline.com
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Postby Minister of Finance » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:19 pm

Pratt And NPP’s YB Asamoah Clash In PeaceFM Studios

The intellectual discourse on Friday’s edition of Peace FM’s flagship programme, “Kokrokoo”, turned dramatic when a verbal altercation ensued between Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., and a member of the Communication Team of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Yaw Buabeng Asamoah.

The heated shouting match erupted after the NPP activist, who is also a legal practitioner, had shared his thoughts on the drama that unfolded at the Osu Magistrate Court precincts on Thursday involving security operatives from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), and the trial judge, Her Worship Justice Ellen Anokye, over the custody of three men, Daniel Djabaah, Eric Owusu Manu and Frank Bruno Pappoe arrested for narcotic-related offences.

Operatives of the BNI stormed the precincts of the Osu Magistrate court in an attempt to re-arrest the three suspects standing trial for narcotic-related offences after Justice Ellen Anokye had granted them bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 each with a surety.

The suspects were last week granted GH¢10,000 bail each with a surety by the court but could not fulfill the bail conditions until Thursday.

A scuffle ensued and it degenerated as the BNI tried to re-arrest the suspects when the judge who was sitting on other cases rushed out to order them to halt the arrests in the court premises.

The BNI then allegedly seized the mobile phone of a driver of a lawyer who was trying to film the incident and in the process, the phone was smashed while a BMW saloon car belonging to one of the defense counsel was also damaged.

As the suspects retreated to the court premises, the BNI pursued them and in the process, one of the BNI drivers was said to have been detained on the orders of the judge.

Justice Ellen Anokye prevented the BNI operatives from carrying out their intentions until Chief Justice Georgina Wood advised her to release the suspects into the custody of the police led by the Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Rose Bio Atinga and a team of policemen called in to maintain law and order, following the brouhaha.

Mr. Buabeng Asamoah had questioned the actions of the BNI, saying the BNI had the chance to oppose the bail granted the suspects by the court but chose to rather use brutal force to have their way. To him, the BNI undermined the authority of the court by trying to re-arrest the suspects on the same offence, after they had been granted bail by the court and expressed disgust at their action.

“If you think the court was wrong in granting bail, you do not take the law into your own hands. You undermine the court’s authority. If you think the court made a mistake in law by granting bail, you take steps within the bounds of the law to have that decision set aside,” he said.

He argued that if the BNI believed it had fresh evidence against the suspects, they should have gone to court and introduced it through due process. He maintained that even though suspects in drug-related offences and cases of murder are not liable to bail, a judge can grant bail if the charges leveled against the suspects are not substantial enough.

“If you, an authority, decide the court is wrong and so you are going to take the law into your own hands by teaching the court the law, that is unacceptable,” he added.

But the Insight Managing Editor, sharply disagreed with Mr. Buabeng’s analysis, questioning his status as a lawyer. According to Mr. Pratt, it is inconceivable for someone who sees himself as a lawyer to advance such arguments, adding that even a first year law student knows that suspects in drug-related cases are not liable to bail terms.

With deep sarcasm, he asked “are you not supposed to be a lawyer?”

“Don’t you know that there are certain offences when you commit, you cannot be granted bail even when investigations have not been completed? I guess as a lawyer you know that, so under what circumstance can you put forward such an argument that there was no prima facie? I don’t expect a lawyer to talk like the way you just did,” he said.

However, YB, as the NPP stalwart is affectionately called, did not take kindly to Mr Pratt’s comment and insisted that he (Pratt) withdraws that particular phrase which he claims sought to question his integrity as a lawyer.

“Yes indeed, I am a lawyer… I’ve fourteen years standing at the Bar (Ghana Bar Association) so you don’t have to use the phrase “supposed to be”. It appears you are questioning my integrity as a lawyer so better withdraw your statement. I never said there was no prima facie besides I have not gone into the merits of the case. All what I said was that the suspects were with the BNI even after been granted bail so the BNI could have gone to court to appeal the bail than use force. You are accusing me of things I have not said and you are questioning my integrity as a lawyer. I am a lawyer...I won’t take that from you,” he retorted.

A heated shouting match then ensued with none of the “combatants” prepared to give a quarter.

Just as the war of words reached its apex, host of the show, Kwami Sefa Kayi, took both gentlemen off-air (though their verbal altercation could still be heard in the background) and introduced another member of the panel, Randy Abbey, host of Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme to share his views on the topic under discussion.

Meanwhile, peacefmonline.com is reliably informed that the suspects were kept in police custody overnight at the Accra Central Police Station. Barely 24 hours after the fiasco, lawyers for the suspects brought contempt charges against the BNI for disregarding the court’s order.

In a related development, Deputy Attorney-General, Ebo Barton-Odro, says government was discontinuing the case for now and the state has filed a nolle prosequi at the same court.

“It is not over, but our reputation is at stake,” he told the media on Friday.


Source: Beatrice Adepa Frempong/Peacefmonline.com
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Postby Minister of Finance » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:20 pm

Lawyer Blasts BNI

AN ACCRA based legal practitioner has chastised the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) over its attempt to re-arrest some suspected drug dealers who were granted bail by an Accra Magistrate Court last week.

Drama unfolded at the premises of an Accra Magistrate Court when fully armed BNI officials stormed the facility ostensibly to re-arrest the suspected drug dealers who had been granted bail by the court of competent jurisdiction.

Reports say just as the drug dealers were about to leave the court after being granted bail, officials of the BNI wielding offensive weapons made their way to the entrance of the building to protest against the court’s decision and re-arrest the suspects.

Speaking on Kessben Fm, lawyer Kwame Akufo slammed the move by the BNI, describing it as an affront to the country’s democratic principles and the rule of law. He said that though the BNI is a recognized state institution, it has no constitutional right to demean the ruling of a competent court of jurisdiction by ordering the re-arrest of suspects that have been granted bail.

The renowned lawyer did not mince words when he noted that the BNI’s action amounted to subversion of the powers and authority of the court in question, stressing that it constituted gross disregard for rule of law.

Lawyer Akufo emphasized that the BNI’s decision must be condemned by all and sundry since it was a recipe for lawlessness in Ghana, a development which the nation has fought and continues to fight against.

He explained that the BNI had taken a major step backwards in the country’s tireless efforts to respect the rule of law and the right of the judicial system to dispense justice in the supreme interest of the nation. He said although the revised edition of the criminal code stipulates that drugs offences are not bailable, the constitution also states categorically that there is no offence that is not bailable apart from treason.

In view of this, the legal practitioner said it was important that the citizenry including the BNI accept the fact that all laws in the country cannot work in unison but in line with the spirit and tents of the constitution.

Against this background, Lawyer Akufo indicated that if the BNI had any reason to contest the verdict of the magistrate court, it ought to have gathered fresh evidence then challenged the court’s decision rather than using jungle tactics to get its way.

He noted that the country has moved on from the days of the military era where the rule of law was downplayed and the wishes of the powers that be reigned supreme therefore everyone should be willing to respect the tenets and spirit of the rule of law so that Ghana will be a safe haven for all.



Source: Morgan Owusu, Kumasi/D-Guide
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Postby kebashorificatious » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:17 pm

The judges are gonna be strict on these sued idiots from the BNI.


I would like to hear BNI's version though.
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