An Accra Circuit Court has remanded into police custody two persons allegedly involved in election disturbances during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Youth and Women’s Congress held in Cape Coast.
Abdul Halid Shaibu aka Olu and Razak Ibrahim aka Oga have pleaded not guilty to two counts of prohibition of vigilante groups and activities.
Dauda Mohammed Nazir, the third accused person, however pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday January 10, 2023.
The Court presided over by Mrs Samuel Bright Acquah has however deferred Nazir’s sentence to January 25.
Defence counsels: Ali Jafaru, Paul Asibi Abariga and Lampting Akpanga, prayed for bail, saying the accused were gainfully employed, they had fixed places of abode and that they would appear to stand trial.
Prosecution led by Superintendent of Police Sylvester Asare vehemently opposed to the grant of bail, saying they would interfere with Police investigations.
According to prosecution, the Police was on a man hunt for other accused persons who were at large.
The Court turned down the accused persons’ bail application on the grounds that accused persons were not ordinary residents within the court’s jurisdiction and that the possibility of the accused persons absenting themselves was high.
According to the Court, the gravity of the offence and the punishment if found guilty, would also compel the accused persons to abscond.
It noted that out of the 14 suspected persons, only three had been arrested and the Police were on the heels of the rest.
The Court held that the country was gradually heading towards Election 2024 and that political vigilantism was becoming rampant and it should be stopped.
It said the only duty of the Court was to put fear in culprits so that Election 2024 would become peaceful.
The case of the Prosecution was that the accused persons are members of a vigilante group operating within the NDC.
The Prosecution said on December 10, 2022, the Police received report of violent disturbances at the NDC’s National Youth and Women’s Congress held at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
It said on receipt of the disturbance report, the Police commenced investigations into the matter.
According to the prosecution, the Police investigation team reviewed specific video footage and declared 16 persons wanted, including the accused persons for the alleged violence.
The Prosecution said investigations revealed that while the proceedings were ongoing at the Congress, two rival vigilante groups violently clashed by throwing stones, clubs, among others, causing injury to some persons.
It said Shaibu and Ibrahim and others at large worked for and in the interest of George Opare Addo aka Pablo as the National Youth Organiser of the NDC.
“Similarly, it was established that Nazir, the third accused person and others at large acted for Brogya Gyenfi and Hannah Bisiw.”
The Prosecution said on December 9, 2022, Shaibu and Ibrahim and others at large, were transported from Tamale to Cape Coast to engage in vigilante activities in the interest of George Opare Addo to win the election.
It said accused persons were given GHS50.00 each as pocket money.
The Prosecution held that on December 9, 2023, one suspect known as Jango currently in police custody, organised a rival group, including Nazir from Berekum and its environs to further push for the interest of Hannah Bisiw and Brogya Gyenfi.
It said Police investigations also revealed that the three accused persons and others at large, were lodged and fed in separate Hotels in Cape Coast.
On December 10, 2022, it said while the congress was going on, the vigilante rival groups without any provocation resorted to use of violence, threat and intimidation, injuring some persons who were later rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Prosecution said investigation revealed that Shaibu and Ibrahim were given GHS250 each for their services as vigilantes at the Congress.
It said on January 6, 2023, Shaibu and Ibrahim were arrested at their hideouts at Tamale and brought to Accra for investigations.
Prosecution said on January 7, 2023, Nazir was arrested at Kintampo.