The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has condemned in no uncertain terms, the conduct of the BNI in relation to what has become known as SA3.
The association in a statement issued in Accra Friday, expressed “its regret and grave displeasure at the conduct of the BNI in flouting the orders of the Circuit Court, Accra, granting bail to the three former South African police officers.”
“The GBA condemns that conduct in no uncertain terms,” the statement stressed.
The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), in spite of a court order granting bail to the three SA ex-cops continued to detain them with impunity.
The three had been brought to the country by the opposition New Patriotic Party to train the bodyguards of the party’s flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his running-mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
They were, however, picked up by the BNI and charged with conspiracy to commit crime, unlawful training, false declaration amongst others.
When they appeared in court on Thursday, March 24, the Circuit Court granted them bail.
But the BNI whisked the three into a waiting vehicle and sent them back to the detention centre to the chagrin of their lawyers.
In a statement signed by its President, Mr. Benson Nutsukpui, the GBA said, "It is against the rule of law for any person or institution to flout the orders of a court of competent jurisdiction especially, under our current constitutional dispensation."
The statement said, "The BNI by sending the accused persons to court, had in law surrendered their custody to the court to decide on whether to remand them (and if so, into which custody or to grant them bail. Once the court granted bail, the accused persons should have been released, as long as they were able to meet their bail conditions. By removing them from the court premises without allowing them to begin the process of fulfilling their bail conditions, the BNI acted in flagrant breach and disrespect of the constitution."
The Minister of the Interior, Mr. Prosper Bani, in a statement had explained that the Ghana Immigration Service asked the BNI to hold the suspects for them because they were continuing with investigations into the presence of the three in Ghana.
In response to this, the Ghana Bar Association said, it "has taken note of the Interior Minister’s Press Statement of 28th March 2016, in which he suggested that the BNI, in not releasing the accused persons to the Court Registrar, were acting in accordance with a request from the Ghana Immigration Service to interrogate the accused persons. Respectfully, this is no justification for the illegality that occurred. The Ghana Immigration Service itself could have appeared in court that day to make that request to the judge. No individual or institution has the power to flout orders of the court in this manner."
"The GBA notes that any system that allows an individual or institution to disobey orders made by a court of competent jurisdiction simply creates room for anarchy, chaos and lawlessness. This certainly has no place under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. It is for these reasons that the GBA views the flouting of the bail orders of the Circuit Court, Accra, as a threat to the rule of law and condemns that conduct in no uncertain terms. We will, therefore, call on the citizenry, institutions and agencies to follow due process and show adequate respect to the various institutions and bodies created under our 1992 Constitution," the statement added.