Prof Ransford Gyampo

Government has been criticized for quashing a recommendation for the prosecution of a security operative who slapped an opposition MP Sam George during the Awayaso West Wuogon by-election.

Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, said on JoyNews Newsfile Saturday, the “government goofed.”

The operative was one of several beneficiaries of a government White Paper that rejected some recommendations of the Emile Short Commission that investigated electoral violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election January 31, 2019.

The government justified the assault explaining the operative, Mohammed Sulemana was provoked after the MP used insulting language. The justification has not been without ridicule in some sections of social media.

Legal practitioners, Dr Eric Oduro, Samson Lardy and several others have drawn attention to court judgements that dismisses provocation as valid legal grounds for assault.

One of the foremost references on provocation is Prof.Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu who incidentally was a member of the Short commission.

Prof. Gyampo said he would have wanted government to go ahead and prosecute the operative and allow a judge to determine if he had the right cause to attack the MP.

“To exonerate a person in a White Paper creates an impression, the government is not so much interested in fighting against vigilantism,” the lecturer said.

He asked the government to “take a second look” at this ‘politically unwise’ decision to exonerate the operative.

He said the exoneration lends credence to the claim, the Akufo-Addo government supports impunity.

The government also refused to remove the commander of a SWAT team at National Security Council Secretariat, DSP Samuel Azugu who admitted his men over-acted at Bawalashie where guns were fired close to the residence of the NDC parliamentary candidate Delali Kwasi Brempong.

The White Paper also refused to reprimand the minister of state at the presidency in charge of national security, Bryan Acheampong who had ‘ultimate responsibility’ for the operation.

Another panellist, Dr Eric Oduro, said while provocation is not a valid defence in law, the government has the prerogative to prosecute the operative.

“If the evidence cannot support the prosecution, it will be extremely difficult to go to court,” he said.