Ranking Member on the Local Government Committee, Nii Lante Vanderpuye says the suspension of the Sekondi-Takoradi MCE Abdul Mumin Issah after he allegedly assaulted a police officer is not enough punishment.

According to him, the Local Government Minister, Dan Botwe, needs to place an embargo on the salary of the MCE while he is on suspension to serve as a deterrent for public office holders who abuse their power. 

Speaking to JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker Wilson, Mr Vanderpuye said that “the suspension should not be inclusive of the police actions (prosecution). This one is to show to him that he was given that position to be an example to others.”

“(But) is this suspension with or without salary? To me, as much as he has been suspended whether, for a month or three, he should not draw any salary, that would be punitive enough. But if he is suspended and he can still have his salary then that one would not deter anything,” he added.

Although the assault of the officer was unfortunate, the Sekondi-Takoradi MCE facing prosecution and suspension, Mr Vanderpuye believes, shows MMDCEs cannot lord themselves over others but serve as the exponents of discipline and control.

His comment comes after Mr Issah went viral for assaulting and threatening to get a police officer transferred after he was arrested for driving dangerously.

In a conversation that ensued between Abdul Mumin Issah and the Police officer, the MCE can be heard using unprintable words against the personnel in question.  

During the conversation, the Sekondi-Takoradi MCE said to the Police officer: “Patrol team, coming to take me? You don’t know who you are dealing with. You will come begging tomorrow. I’ll send you to Enchi.”

In response, the officer said: “It is a place. Police are working there. Transfer is not punishment in Police. You can transfer me to Pwalugu. My colleagues are there working happily.”

“What are you telling my colleagues at Enchi. They are human beings. Same people who voted for you are working there,” he added.

The MCE was arrested on that Thursday and charged on three counts of assault of a public officer, offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace and disturbing the peace in a public place contrary to Sections 205, 207 and 298, respectively, of the Criminal and Other Offences Act of 1960, Act 29.

On Friday morning, Abdul Mumin Issah was put before the Takoradi Circuit Court ‘A’. He pleaded not guilty to the three charges levelled against him.

At the end of the proceedings, he was granted a GH¢100,000 self-recognisance bail with three sureties. The case was adjourned to March 17, 2022.

But shortly after, the government through the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, suspended Mr Issah.

The Minister, Dan Botwe, indicated that the comments made by the Chief Executive “run contrary to the government’s belief and they will work to ensure that our security agencies and indeed, public agencies are resourced, empowered and accorded the respect to deliver on their mandates.”

Meanwhile, Mr Vanderpuye has applauded the Local Government Ministry for its swift decision making regarding the MCE.

He explained that the Minister’s action is indicative of the fact that he is not going to compromise on such indiscipline and impunity on behalf of government officials.

“People should understand that the power today for MMDCEs are more consultative, working with the people and understanding the problems of the area, and it is not lording over people,” Mr Vanderpuye added.