Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has condemned the Police over how they arrested one of the conveners for the #FixTheCountry Movement, Oliver Barker-Vormawor.
According to him, the Police poorly handled the arrest, which he described as “a mockery of the power of arrest”.
On Friday night, Mr Barker-Vormawor was picked up by the Police at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) while returning from abroad.
According to the Police, the activist was apprehended over a social media post on Facebook announcing a plot to stage a coup should the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) be passed.
Oliver Barker-Vormawor made the threat after pictures of an E-levy-designed cake emerged during the 65th birthday party of the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
Speaking on Citi TV, Martin Kpebu argued that the Police could have been tactical by inviting him over rather than arresting him.
“Oliver is just doing advocacy against the profligacy of the government, and the Police say they have arrested him to investigate the coup?
“He is arriving in the country so put him under surveillance, and then if you need him, you invite him openly. But now, if anybody says anything, we arrest the person? This is not how we arrest a person.”
“When he was coming, did he bring in guns? This was someone who openly came through the airport. This arrest is high-handed and a very over-bearing one. It lacks finesse, and what the Police have done is a mockery of the power of arrest. The arrest should be defined not in a Rambo or Gestapo style,” he decried.
In a statement signed by the Director-General of the Public Affairs Unit of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Kwesi Ofori, the Cambridge PhD Student will be arraigned on Monday, February 14, 2022.
However, Martin Kpebu believes the decision by the Police to hold him in custody for over 48 hours is a clear breach of the Constitution.
He said the law requires the Police to put Barker-Vormawor before the court by Sunday rather than the scheduled date by the Police.
“It doesn’t even lie within the powers of the Police to take him to court on Monday. It is supposed to be Sunday. The Supreme Court has said that the Police have the right to keep a suspect and take him to court within 48 hours and not the expiration of the 48 hours for court processes to begin.
“So if the Police say it has exercised its powers to arrest, which I have my gravest doubt, then they should also apply the next law by the Supreme Court—[Article 14 (3)]. They cannot pick and choose. The Police have no power to hold Oliver for 48 hours. That will be a gross violation of the Constitution. So the Police should do the needful to have part of its credibility restored because this arrest is making them unpopular,” Martin Kpebu explained.
Meanwhile, Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George has said the state overreacted in the arrest of the social activist.
Speaking on Newsfile, Saturday, the Legislator noted that the state should have considered certain factors before issuing a warrant for the academic’s arrest.
“Because you need to ask yourself, does this person have what it takes to execute a coup successfully?” he quizzed.
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