The Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Bryan Acheampong has stated that he never authorised the Special Weapons and Tactics [SWAT] team to go to the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election polling station.
Answering questions from the parliament’s vetting committee, the Abetifi Member of Parliament stated that the recommendations made against him by the Committee of Inquiry that he should be reprimanded for allegedly giving an order to the SWAT team that resulted in violence at La-Bawaleshie polling station two hours after the election had started have no basis.
According to him, the white paper published after the recommendations of the committee cleared him of any allegations levelled against him.
“I didn’t authorise any SWAT operation to mar Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.” Hon. Bryan Acheampong told the Committee
The NDC withdrew from the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election following a shooting incident at the polls.
Some masked men were caught on camera beating up civilians who did not resist arrest. The men, fully armed were also seen in the company of some police officers.
Some of these men believed to be party vigilantes of the ruling NPP were seen in T-shirts with the inscription ‘NSC’ which translates as the National Security Council which the President of the Republic heads.
The government subsequently set up a committee to probe the incident.
The Emile Short Commission of Inquiry was, among other things, mandated “to make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to the events and associated violence that occurred during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.”
The Commission took testimonies of principal witnesses in the matter including the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George; the Commander of the National Security SWAT team, DSP Samuel Azugu; and the then NDC Parliamentary candidate, Delali Kwasi Brempong.
The Commission interviewed over 20 other witnesses and persons of interest over three weeks.
The committee after its investigation presented its report to the President.
The government however rejected some of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry according to parts of the White Paper.
The government said, “the report failed to address the first and most critical of the terms of reference of the Commission.”
“The failure to do so disables the government from accepting in whole the findings of the commission,” the White Paper had said.