June 15, 2024 6:52 am

Barker-Vormawor’s detention wrong; ‘a mockery of power of arrest’ – Martin Kpebu

Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has criticised the police administration over what he says is the poor handling of the arrest of Oliver Barker-Vormawor, one of the conveners of social activism group, #FixtheCountry Movement.

He says the manner in which Barker-Vormawor was apprehended at the Kotoka International Airport can best be described as “a mockery of the power of arrest”.

The convener of the social movement was picked up by the police on Friday night over a social media post on Facebook announcing a plot to stage a coup should the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) be passed.

But Martin Kpebu, who was contributing to discussions on Citi FM/Citi TV‘s weekend news analysis show, The Big Issue, condemned the arrest and argued simply that the police should have invited the accused, used tact in dealing with him other than the arrest.

“Oliver is just doing advocacy against the prolificacy of the government, and the police say they have arrested him to investigate the coup? He is arriving in the country so put him under surveillance and then if you need him, you invite him openly. But now, if anybody says anything, we arrest the person? This is not how we arrest a person.”

“When he was coming, did he bring in guns? This was someone who openly came through the airport. This arrest is high-handed and a very over-bearing one. It lacks finesse, and what the police have done is a mockery of the power of arrest. The arrest should be defined not in a Rambo or Gestapo style,” he decried.

Monday’s court appearance also problematic

Oliver Barker-Vormawor, will be arraigned on Monday, February 14, 2022, following his arrest over a threat to stage a coup.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director-General of the Public Affairs Unit of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Kwesi Ofori.

The statement explained that the Cambridge PhD Student’s arrest was as a result of a social media post.

But Martin Kpeku has taken issue with the time set by the police, pointing out that, it is in clear breach of the laws on the detention of persons in police custody.

For him, the Ghana Police Service should have put the suspect before court by Sunday instead of the scheduled Monday date.

“It doesn’t even lie within the powers of the police to take him to court on Monday. It is supposed to be Sunday. The Supreme Court has said that the police have the right to keep a suspect and take him to court within 48 hours and not the expiration of the 48 hours for court processes to begin.

“So if the police say it has exercised its powers to arrest, which I have my gravest doubt, then they should also apply the next law by the Supreme Court—[Article 14 (3)]. They cannot pick and choose. The police have no power to hold Oliver for 48 hours. That will be a gross violation of the constitution. So the police should do the needful to have part of its credibility restored because this arrest is making them unpopular.”

“The post contained a clear statement of intent with a possible will to execute a coup in his declaration of intent to subvert the constitution of the Republic,” the police said in its statement.

Oliver Barker-Vormawor had made the threat after pictures of the Majority Leader’s 65th party showing an E-levy-designed cake emerged.

The Police Service cautioned citizens against making comments that could compromise peace in the country.

“We continue to call on the good people of Ghana to avoid making pronouncements that may lead to a breach of the peace of the country, as any such acts contravene the laws of the country.”

Source: Citinewsroom

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