Mohammed Alhassan, Inspector General of Police
The Ghana Police Service has taken a U-turn on the action taken against a Ghanaian woman based in Italy, who was paraded in the media by the police as a human trafficker, after she had resorted to the court of law for redress.
Madam Victoria Afful’s home at New Aplaku, near Weija, Accra, was raided by fully armed policemen at dawn on September 14, 2013 and her only son, Frederick Kwabena Osei, who was taking care of the house, was detained by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Service for several days.
The day following the arrest and detention of her son, she was published in the various news media on the orders of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit that she was trafficking people, particularly Nigerian girls, to Europe and America for prostitution.
The incident also formed the basis for a documentary which was shown on Metro TV for several days in which many experts on trafficking, including Mrs. Patience Quaye, Head of Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, all made damaging remarks about the plaintiffs.
After ransacking her residence and seizing valuable properties including two vehicles, two police officers who were investigating the case, allegedly extorted GH¢4,200 from the victim.
Just as a suit she filed at an Accra High Court (Human Rights Division) enforcing her fundamental human rights was to be moved on Thursday, the police wrote to her through her lawyers, asking her to come for her vehicles.
A letter entitled: ‘Re: Petition Against Raid on House, Seizure of Vehicles, Extortion of Money and Notice to Attorney-General,’ signed on March 19, 2014 by Commissioner of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Prosper K. Agblor, directed Madam Afful to the Police Headquarters for collection of her items.
‘We refer to your letter dated November 8, 2013 concerning the above subject matter and wish to inform you that discreet investigation has been conducted into the matter and some of the concerns raised by your client were found to be credible,’ the letter, addressed to her counsel, had stated.
‘Consequently, the two police officers involved have been interdicted and service enquiry ordered into their conduct,’ the CID Commissioner said.
‘In addition, the Commander of Anti-Human Trafficking Unit has been instructed to release the two vehicles and other items seized during the police operation to your client.’
The CID Boss then asked Madam Afful to report to one DSP Joseph Oppong at the CID Headquarters, for the release of the items to her.
In the substantive suit, Madam Afful and her son Osei had charged the Inspector-General of Ghana Police Service together with the Attorney-General, for abuse of their rights by the police.
While Madam Afful is demanding compensation of GH¢ 200,000, her son wants GH¢100,000 from the defendants for depriving them of the use of the two cars since September 14, 2013, without any lawful order from a court of competent jurisdiction.
The plaintiffs want an order directed at the respondents to pay to them a total of GH¢4,200 with interest, being money extorted from them by the CID men whose names were given as Joseph Naab and Emmanuel Gyamfi Yeboah.
Madam Afful and her son also want a further order directed at the defendants to release 2,900 Dollars, 5,150 Euros and GH¢9,000 with interests, which they claimed were taken away by the police during the raid; payment for the cost of her hotel accommodation from September 23, 2013 to October 2, 2013 at $150 per day after the police had prevented her from entering her house upon her arrival from Italy, among others.
Statement Of Claim
In her statement of claim, Madam Afful said she had travelled to Italy when on Saturday, September 14, 2013, she received a telephone call from Ghana that the police had surrounded her residence and were ransacking the place.
She said after enquiries, she returned to Ghana on September 23, 2013 only to find her residence sealed off by the police without any justification and had to spend more than one week in a hotel. Upon inspection, she discovered that her safe had been broken into and various currencies taken out of it.
By William Yaw Owusu
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