Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Patrick Adusei Sarpong, the Accra Regional Police Commander, has denied claims that some officers were sidelined during the January 31, Ayawaso West Wuogon Parliamentary bye-election.
He told the Emile Short Commission, set up to investigate the violent incident that occurred during the bye-election, that he sent out messages, through WhatsApp to the Commanders on the eve of the election, telling them that they were to be part of the patrol team.
This sharply contradicts the assertion earlier made by the East Legon District Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) George Lysander Asare, that he was ordered by his superiors to step aside and to surrender his Command vehicle.
He presented to the Commission evidence of the WhatsApp message he sent to DSP Asare and it read, “Good evening, report at RHQ at 0500hrs to join other officers and lead the patrol team”.
It was sent at 2157 hours on January 30, but he did not receive any response.
Same message went to the Accra District Commander and he acknowledged having received it.
He added that the East Legon District Commander name’s was the first on the list of officers sent to the Regional Headquarters by the Airport Divisional Police Commander for election duties.
DCOP Sarpong said the directive to the various Commanders to surrender their Command vehicles to the Regional Police Headquarters was for the purpose of the conduct of the election.
Regarding the outbreak of violence at the residence of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate at La-Bawaleshie, he informed the Commission that he learnt of the incident from media reports and through the Police radio.
His immediate reaction was to rush straight to the East Legon Police Station; where he was led by the station officer to the scene of the incident.
There he met some members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) gathering evidence.
While on his way to East Legon, he received a telephone call from DSP Asare on the incident, and also that he was (DSP Asare) taking his child, to the hospital.
Responding to a question from Mr Eric Osei-Mensah, Counsel of the Commission, whether he had received any investigation report from his men on the ground on the violence, the Regional Commander said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) had set-up an investigation team to look into the matter, hence there was no need for him to conduct a parallel investigation.
He stated that no nasty incident happened in any of the 137 polling in the constituency.
Asked if he was aware of the presence of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the National Security in the constituency, he answered in the negative.
DCOP Sarpong said if the SWAT team had handed the operation to the police, they could have done the job.
To another question by Mr Francis Emile Short, Chairman of the Commission, whether he was aware that some of his officers were in the SWAT team, he said those police officers were not under his Command.
Re recommended that a senior police officer should lead the SWAT Team.
Evans Mensah, a Broadcast Journalist with Multimedia Group, was also there to give evidence and made available to the Commission documentary evidence.