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Launch independent complaints commission to investigate police brutality, says CHRI

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative wants the Inspector General of Police to initiate an independent probe into officer assaults on civilians

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has urged the Inspector General of Police to establish an independent complaints commission to investigate police brutality in Ghana.

The call comes after officers at a local police station in Seikwa, in the Bono Region, were accused of beating a suspect in custody to death and secretly burying his body.

Speaking with a reporter for Asaase News, Anthony Sedzro, project officer of the Access to Justice programme run by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said the IGP must go beyond interdicting the officers.

“I must commend the IGP for the swift manner in which he has asked for the officers to be interdicted,” Sedzro said.

“What we want the police to do beyond the interdiction is that, there has been a number abuses or brutalities in the past where the police administration will just announce that the officers involved have been interdicted and that will be the end of the matter ….

“That is why the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is calling for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, a body that is independent of the police … because the current interdiction is an internal mechanism.”


Step aside

The Inspector General of Police, James Oppong-Boanuh, has ordered the interdiction of three police officers over the death and secret burial of the suspect.

The officers, who were stationed at a police station in Seikwa, are Chief Inspector Eric Aforo, General Corporal William Akussung and General Constable Ebenezer Akuffo. The Bono Regional crime officer, Superintendent Kennedy Adusei, confirmed the names to Asaase News.

The three officers have been interdicted pending the outcome of investigations into the death of 48-year-old Abu Bukari Bahala, whom local people say the law-enforcement agents secretly buried.

“As part of measures by our superiors, they’ve asked that they step aside … to enable them to co-operate fully with investigations,” Superintendent Adusei said.

“[When such things happen] a policeman is supposed to send the body to the mortuary for preservation and autopsy. But here’s the case – our chief inspector erred, but rather teamed up with the Akyeamehene of Seikwa together with some boys in town and got this suspect who is now deceased buried.”

Bahala’s crime

According to relatives of the dead man, in a shocking episode of brutality, the officers beat Bahala to a pulp until he died because he had allegedly smashed the windscreen of a local bank manager at Seikwa.

He was then buried at the Seikwa cemetery that same night without the knowledge of the family. Relatives say it was police officers who carried out the secret burial.

“It’s a barbaric act,” Abdul Rahman, a brother of the dead man, said about the crime.

“As a family we have resolved to pursue justice for our son and we are hopeful the intervention of the IGP will put matters to rest.”

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