Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Police Condemned for Storming A Radio Station

Ghana's police are coming under intense criticism after some policemen stormed into "Radio Gold," an independent radio station in the capital, Accra, and arrested the financial comptroller. This comes after police claim they received a tipoff of an ongoing-armed robbery on the station premises in the early hours of Tuesday morning. But the radio station dismissed the police assertion as bogus and without merit, accusing police of what it described as "unnecessary use of brute force" after some workers were severely beaten The financial comptroller was finally arrested.

Some political analysts are worried that a group of law enforcement officials are tarnishing the reputation of the organization. Roland Acquah-Steven is the head of the news division of Radio Gold. From the capital, Accra, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the police acted unprofessionally.

"What really happened this morning is that about 15 or so minutes to the end of the morning show, some residents of the Ablekuma north constituency in the Greater Accra region, affected a citizens arrest of an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) who they suspected was engaged in electoral malpractice or fraud for that matter. Apparently, they had already gone to the police station to launch a complaint, but they brought him to the radio station so as Ghanaians would hear exactly what had transpired in that particular registration center at Ablekuma north constituency," Acquah-Steven pointed out.

He said the policemen forced their way to the radio station, assaulted workers, and arrested the station's financial controller.

"Unbeknownst to us, somebody had alerted the police authority. So, the police people drove in here and it was a scene to behold. When they got down from their vehicle, they started beating people. But while I was in the studio, some of my colleagues barged into the studio and said Fred has been arrested. And I said which of the Fred's have been arrested, since we have two Freds here. And they said it was Fred Ayensu the accountant or the financial comptroller for that matter," he said.

Acquah-Steven said the police charged and released the financial comptroller for obstructing police work.

"As we speak, Fred Ayensu was released earlier in the day, and the charged preferred against him was obstructing their work. And he has been granted bail. But we were taken aback and as a station, we have not decided yet what to do specifically in line with this arrest," Acquah-Steven noted.

He said the police acted unprofessionally, in what the station described as an affront to the sensibilities of Ghanaians.

"The point is when law enforcement officers do come to your premises, obviously since they are officers of the law, you don't expect them to come in and misbehave or act unprofessionally. So for us, our doors would always be open to the police and we would always welcome them with our arms wide open because they are law enforcers. But we expect that they will treat us with civility and act professionally as expected of police officers," he said.

Acquah-Steven condemned the action of the police as highly unfortunate.

"What we are expecting from the police is to do what is right. They had information which was not credible and acted wrongly and illegally because they illegally entered our premises to do what they did, arresting the financial comptroller. So you expect that as professional law enforcement agency they would do what is right. First and most significantly, they will apologize and then rectify the wrong they have occasioned to our station, and then we take it from there," Acquah-Steven pointed out.


No comments: