Commissioner of Police Patrick Timbillah is no longer under house arrest but remains on interdiction, a release from the Police Administration announced yesterday.
The latest development followed disapproval of the Administration’s action by various lawyers, especially former Attorney General, Joseph Ayikoi Otoo, who likened the action to one taken after a coup attempt.
It appears that the strict regime has been relaxed, it is not certain whether it would satisfy the question posed by the former Attorney General for whom the Superior Police Officer should have had his statement taken in a police station as a routine procedure, with other actions such as interdiction ordered by a court of law.
The Police Administration’s action has prompted an unusual flurry of gossips among both the other ranks and superior officers.
‘The action taken against Patrick Timbillah has no place under a constitutional arrangement such as what it obtains in Ghana,’ Ayikoi Otoo observed adding, ‘I don’t think it is quite a common practice under constitutional regimes to hear that people have been put under house arrest….this idea of house arrest is worrying…. it looks a little bit odd for me because it is not a court order.’
‘Article 14(2) of Ghana’s Constitution makes it very clear that a person who is arrested, restricted or detained shall be informed immediately in the language that he understands of the reason for his arrest, restrictions for detentions and of his right to lawyer of his choice,’ he emphasised.
‘By house arrest,’ he went on ‘the house of COP Patrick Timbillah becomes his own jail as he will not be allowed to move out or communicate with the outside world.’
Explaining further, he said the normal procedure would have been to “arrest him [suspect], bring him to the police station, let him write a statement; you grant him bail and he goes home,” adding that he (Otoo) was not sure this action is supported by the law.
“The Constitution talks about custody and we know custody is either prison or police custody…I am not too sure about house custody; but these are things associated with coups d’etat.”
In his view on what is the most challenging moments in the history of the law enforcement agency, Dr. Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, security analyst and head of research at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), has called for restraint in the manner people are commenting on the Timbillah issue.
In an interview with an Accra-based radio station he expressed concern about the effect the recruitment scam would have on the image of the law enforcement agency and how difficult questions would have to be posed with a view to assisting the Service redeem its credibility in due course.
‘I’m saddened for the individual [Timbillah] involved and I’m saddened for the service as a whole because it is a service that I love and it’s a service that plays a critical role in providing security for this country so I think it’s most unfortunate,’ Dr Aning said.
The police have however, relaxed the restrictions placed on the top cop.
Speaking to Citi Fm yesterday, Director-General of Police Public Affairs, DCOP Ampah-Benin, said Mr. Timbillah could move about freely as an ordinary Ghanaian citizen.
‘He is not under house arrest. He can move from his house,’ he stated. ‘He can go anywhere now but when the investigative team needs him, they can call him,’ Bennin added.
In their update on the investigations into the recruitment scam, the Police Service had announced major breakthroughs, expressing surprise at the level of sophistication involved in the fraud.
The law enforcement agency has assured Ghanaians that a new recruitment module activated in the 2014 exercise would expose corrupt acts.
Further investigations by the SIT have uncovered evidence implicating COP Timbillah, Director-General of Human Resource Development of the Police Service, and in line with the Police Administration’s Public Confidence Re-affirmation Programme and the relevant police legal framework, the IGP has interdicted the officer as at 12.00 noon yesterday (Friday), the 6th of March, 2015, the Police said in a statement.
By A.R Gomda
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