A legal practitioner and a seasoned journalist has described as “inappropriate” and “unfortunate” the way and manner Director of Operations of the Friends Of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR), Ernest Owusu Bempah was handled by the security agencies.
Lawyer Egbert Faibille opines that the First Lady, Mrs Naadu Mills, as a private individual could have filed a civil suit against Owusu Bempah if she felt strongly that her person has been defamed, stressing that “but to use a machinery of state and bring the young man in as if he’s gone to do something out of the world, I think it is like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly. It is most unfortunate to say the least.”
“First Lady is just an honorific title; the constitution doesn’t mention First Lady neither does any law in the country mention First Lady… She, like any citizen of this republic, once an allegation bordering on defamation of character has being brought against her, all that she can do is to bring a private civil suit on grounds of defamation against Owusu Bempah,” he explained.
Incarcerated for well over 48hours, the FONKAR firebrand was in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) after he alleged that the First Lady, Mrs Naadu Mills received US$ 5 million from the embattled businessman, Alfred Woyome, who is being tried in the infamous judgment debt saga.
Though the beleaguered FONKAR capo, who reportedly went on a hunger strike has been officially granted a police enquiry bail, he shuffled between the BNI and the CID headquarters for those 48 hours after honoring an invitation by the BNI over the allegation.
And for more than 24hours, Owusu Bempah’s legal team could not make contact with him as the police failed to keep their promise on Thursday of dragging him before court for prosecution.
After being locked up for two days, the vociferous FONKAR Operations Director was allowed visitation rights on Thursday night. Some of his colleagues who saw him at the BNI office alleged that he had been tortured and accused the government of masterminding his arrest for no apparent reason.
But the legal practitioner and Editor of the Ghanaian Observer newspaper, who was speaking in an interview with Xfm 95.1 described the detention as “very political”, especially when other people have walked free after making similar or worse allegations and defamatory statements.
He said better options could be explored other than the BNI interrogation asking further, “will Mrs Mills be ready to come to court to testify for the prosecution against Owusu Bempah?”
He, however, condemned Owusu Bempah’s allegation, saying it was irresponsible on the part of the FONKAR executive “especially when it has come out that he has no evidence to back it”.