The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has described as diversionary tactics, the supposed arrest of their Member of Parliament for the Asutifi South Constituency, Alhaji Collins Dauda by the police.
According to him, the arrest was to divert the attention of the nation from some raging issues including the controversial StarTimes issue as well as the struggling cedi.
“There are all these challenges in the economy and when there is a problem they want a diversion. They know that the StarTimes contract is generating a lot of heat so they want some means of diverting the attention of the nation, we refuse to be diverted,” he added in an interview.
The police said they invited Collins Dauda to their headquarters in Accra to assist an ongoing investigation into an alleged attack on a resident of Kenyasi.
He reportedly turned himself in to the police headquarters in Accra, after which he was questioned, cautioned and granted self-recognizance bail.
But the Minority in Parliament claimed Mr. Daudu’s house was raided by the police in “Rambo-style” describing it as unacceptable for an MP to be treated in that manner.
But the Ghana Police Service maintained that its personnel adopted lawful procedure in inviting Collins Dauda.
Speaking to Citi News, the Director General of the Police Public Affairs Directorate, ACP David Eklu, said the police followed standard procedure in the case.
“If they went to his house to invite him I don’t think there was a breach of Parliamentary process as far as inviting members of Parliament to come and answer questions of criminal complaints against them. What I know is that every citizen in this country under the constitution is enjoined to cooperate with lawful agencies in the discharge of our duties.”
“What I also know is that if the Member of Parliament is on his way to Parliament he cannot be arrested. That doesn’t mean that he cannot be invited on phone to come to the Police headquarters or to come to the police to answer questions. He is only assisting in investigations,” he added.
‘Don’t arrest any MP without informing me’ – Speaker warns police
But the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, on Tuesday warned the Police against such action.
He said on the floor of Parliament that the actions of the police were a clear breach of parliamentary immunity.
“We want the security agencies to be mindful of the fact that the police should not invade the premises of a member of Parliament or appear to be doing so in a manner that will raise unnecessary difficulties for us. We want to put on record that in future, the leadership of the House and the Speaker of the House should be informed of all such needs so that it can be done with the appropriate decency,” he added.
Reasons for Police action
The Police at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District said they were after one Ahmed, alleged to be a bodyguard of Mr. Dauda.
His bodyguard was said to have allegedly assaulted a sympathizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) identified as Sarfo Keneth, at the district Electoral Commission office where the ongoing limited registration is taking place in Kenyasi.
According to the police, the commotion started when the suspect in the company of Mr. Dauda allegedly took a photo of Sarfo after they had reportedly prevented the MP from accessing the registration centre.
The District Police Commander, DSP Teddy Brown, told Citi News he “had information that Hon. Collins Dauda came to the centre and on his arrival, some of the youth passed derogatory comments about him and it provoked him and he left and promised to return fully prepared to engage them.”
“So at about 4:00pm, he returned and entered into EC Director’s office, held some discussion with him. Sensing danger, I rushed there with my men but he did not do anything or posed danger to the process”, the Police Commander explained.
He intimated that the MP then came out and stayed about 50 meters away from the centre to observe the process. He said a lady then raised an alarm that the bodyguard was taking pictures of the NPP faithful, and this sparked the confusion.
“The lady raised an alarm that one of Hon. Dauda’s guys was taking shots of the NPP faithful and that angered them resulting in a free for all trading of blows ignited by Ahmed, who led his boys in the attack” he narrated.
Eleven (11) military men and 15 police officers were later dispatched from the region to assist the officers on the ground to maintain law and order.
All potential voters were assured of their safety, and encouraged to come out in their numbers to participate in the process geared towards a referendum expected to lead to the creation of a new region out of the existing Brong Ahafo Region.