The Greater Accra Regional Police Commander has dismissed an earlier statement by the East Legon Police Commander that he was side-lined during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
According to DCOP Adusei Sarpong, all the district commanders in the region were informed to be present on the day of the election as well as come along with their pick-up vehicles.
DCOP Sarpong’s testimony contradicts DSP George Lysander Asare’s testimony when he appeared before the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry investigating the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence last Friday.
DSP Asare told the commission that he was not included in the formal security arrangements, neither was he given any reason for his exclusion although the by-election was held in a constituency under his command.
According to him, he was only called in to assist in restoring calm around when the violence erupted.
“I asked Chief Supt. Kwesi Ofori, the one in charge of Accra Regional operations as to why my name was not part of the taskforce group and he told me I shouldn’t worry….They [Accra Regional command] are in charge and even my car, they asked me to bring it to Accra region… [In] our work, you can’t challenge authority like that,” he told the Commission.
“I was going to cast my ballot at my polling station… On my way to look for my polling centre, I had a call from my regional commander who didn’t make me part of the exercise that he had heard that some shootings are going on around Bawaleshie closer to the NDC parliamentary candidate’s house so I should go and assist. So I quickly returned [to the police station] and came and mobilized men from the station who were not part of the operation to go there,” he added.
But DSP Asare’s testimony has been contradicted by his commander who says he personally sent messages to all the district commanders via WhatsApp to be present on the day of the election but the former did not respond to his message.
Below are excerpts of the questions and responses
Emile Short: East Legon District Commander was given an assignment. He was supposed to be part of the electoral taskforce, right?
DCOP Sarpong: That’s right; to meet the patrol.
Emile Short: And he was supposed to bring his vehicle with his driver?
DCOP Sarpong: That’s so. It wasn’t him alone. It was all the districts in Accra. [They] were sent copies of signals that they should bring or release their pick-ups for election duties
Emile Short: And you have heard his testimony that he was side-lined?
DCOP Sarpong: Yes my Lord, but that is not true.
Emile Short: Since then, have you queried him why he did not respond to your message? You said you sent him a WhatsApp message to which you got no response, right?
DCOP Sarpong: Yes Mr Chairman
Emile Short: And you also stated here in your evidence that his evidence that he was side-lined isn’t correct. Since then have you had any communication with him why he did not respond to your WhatsApp message and also his testimony before us that he was side-lined by you the regional commander?
DCOP Sarpong: Yes, Mr Chairman, the next day when the election was going on and he reported the incident to me, I told him that he should be there to take care of the situation because it fell within his command so he should take care. If he had come, we would have deployed him but since I left before his arrival, when he reported the incident to me I told him to take care of the situation
Emile Short: Have you queried him and also have you found out from him why he stated before us that he wasn’t included
DCOP Sarpong: I haven’t met him to discuss anything with him.