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Oliver Barker-Vormawor arrested again

Oliver Barker-Vormawor of #FixTheCountry

Oliver Barker-Vormawor | Photo: Edem Robby Abbeyquaye

The #FixTheCountry Movement lead convenor, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, has been arrested on his way to court on Tuesday (17 May 2022), members of the group have confirmed to Asaaseradio.com.

The reasons for his arrest by the police are yet to be established. The Ghana Police Service is yet to comment officially on the development.

In a Facebook post moments after his arrest, the movement said: “We are not safe.”

Treason charges

Barker-Vormawor is on GHC2 million bail with two sureties, having been charged with treason felony.

Under his bail conditions, he is also to report to the police once a week.

Barker-Vormawor was picked up by the Tema Regional Police on Saturday 12 February 2022, after stating, allegedly, that he would stage a coup in Ghana if Parliament passed the E-Levy Bill.

First court sitting

After the charge was read to him in open court on 14 February 2022, Detective Superintendent of Police Sylvester Asare presented the brief facts. Barker-Vormawor’s lead lawyer, Akoto Ampaw, applied for bail for his client but the state opposed the application.

In her ruling, Magistrate Eleanor Barnes Botchway said that she did not have jurisdiction to grant bail in a case involving a charge of treason felony.

She remanded the accused into police custody and by the two-week timeline required by law to have individuals accused on remand make an appearance in court, she adjourned sitting to 28 February 2022.

Social media post

In a series of Facebook posts in the lead-up to a demonstration against the bill in February, Barker-Vormawor described the Ghana army as “useless” because it had failed to act despite the public uproar against the yet-to-be-passed Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) Bill.

According to fiscal estimates presented to Parliament by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, the government is targeting an annual GHC7 billion in revenue for the national coffers.

“If this E-Levy passes after this cake bullshit, I will do the coup myself. Useless Army!” Barker-Vormawor wrote in one of his posts.

In another post he said: “Okay, let’s try again. If this E-Levy still passes after this cake bullshit [a reference to the Majority Leader cutting a display of birthday cakes sent to him by the opposition in February and spelling out ‘E-Levy’], then may God … Help us to resist oppressor’s rule, With all our will and might for evermore. (2x). Useless Army. Anaa, the value is the same?”

Brief facts

The brief facts as presented in court by DSP Sylvester Asare stated that “the accused person is a lawyer and convenor of a social movement, namely ‘FixTheCountry’. Some time in February 2022, the Ashaiman Police received a report that the accused person was inciting some groups of persons believed to be members of the FixTheCountry movement.

“That on receipt of the report, the police mounted surveillance on the accused person until his arrest at Kotoka International Airport on Friday 11 February 2022, when he arrived from the United Kingdom (UK). Preliminary investigation has revealed that accused is a lawyer and a PhD student at Cambridge University, UK.”

The facts further said: “It has also been established during investigation that the accused for some time now has been inciting some group[s] of persons through the social media [sic] to undertake an unlawful enterprise to usurp the executive powers of the Government of Ghana.

“Pursuant to his preparation to usurp the executive powers of the Government of Ghana, accused further published on his Facebook wall that the Ghana army is useless and went ahead to declare his intention in a Facebook post to stage a coup if the Electronic Transaction Levy [E-Levy] is passed by Parliament.”

The police say that investigations “also revealed that the said E-Levy Bill is currently before Parliament and that the accused’s arrival in the country was in furtherance of his intention to stage a coup as declared by him”.

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