The Drug and Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) under the Sekondi Command of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) is enveloped in deep corruption and arm-twisting of persons arrested on mere suspicion of dealing in drugs.
Investigations by this reporter, coupled with several other reports, received from family and relations of suspected victims, who have been arrested by the Unit, on frivolous suspicion of dealing in drugs, revealed that the mere lack of knowledge by the suspects about their rights, made them vulnerable for maximum punishment making them cringe with fear.
In that state, the suspects are softened up and made to part with money, for fear of being dragged to cells where they are fed with little dollops of fright. That the police have capitalized and exploited the victims’ illiteracy about their rights, as their gold mine over the years, and have been milking the suspected drug dealers, is an issue that has been discussed in small groups all over town.
In some cases, the police have no grounds at all to arraign suspects to Court, but based on The Chronicle’s assessment of stories narrated by the victims, they (police) detain the suspects in cells for days at their own pleasure and eventually end up scaring the victims with prosecution and years of imprisonment.
One bold victim, who called The Chronicle’s office after this weekís story of police raid on suspects at Main Spain and Amanful, where drug dealers hang around, the victimís friend called Kofi Coomson, a Takoradi opinion leader and squealed on the police. The man in turn called this reporter and followed up to his base at Kokompe, and obtained his story at first hand, which was corroborated by the Police.
Already, this reporter has kept bulging files of police harassment and exploitation, heightened by the landmark case of police actually arresting and throwing Kofi Coomson in cells during last yearís elections at the instance of Police Divisional Commander, K. Sam. ìThe police have bad eggs in their midst, despite the good work of a majority of them, and Sam is an epitome of bad policing in the region...î, noted Kofi.
No whistleblower has as yet braved the fear triangle until this brave soldier stepped up to tell his story. A common thread that ran through the victim’s story is a chilling incidence of how the DLEU have been milking and manipulating them with long terms of jail sentence, should they be processed for court.
Suleyaro Osman, the 30 year old man who was a victim of the police entrapment scam, narrated his story of how police officers allegedly hid indian hemp and whitish substances, believed to be cocaine in his 8x8 room, and ultimately thrown into police cells, on suspicion of being a drug dealer. Suleyaro was arrested by eight policemen from the DLEU at Effia-kuma on 13th March, this year, on allegation of dealing in drugs. He was put in cells for six days and pushed to pay a sum of GH¢7,500 before he was eventually released from cell. He told the this reporter at a meeting with his family members and friends at his wood workshop site at Kokompe that he was arrested on allegation that he was a drug pusher.
According to him, when the police invaded his room based on that allegation, he denied the allegation and ordered the police to search his 8x8 room to whet their curiosity. Unknown to him, the police miraculously produced a bag containing some whitish powder and another substance suspected to be Indian hemp. The police then started assaulting him with hefty slaps to the extent that blood started oozing from his ears. The police concluded that the whitish substance was cocaine, without taking it to a laboratory to prove its authenticity.
He mentioned the names of the said police officers as John, Alidu, Ebenezer, Chief, Adolf (driver). He told this reporter that he did not have the slightest idea of how the whitish substance and the Indian hemp came to be in his room, and that he suspected the police to have hidden the substance in his room, before they invaded it without a warrant. He said he is neither a user nor a dealer.
When the police produced that whitish substance, according to Suleyaro, the police demanded GH¢ 2,000 to kill the case. The police, acording to Suleyaro, said the informant who gave them the tip was demanding some amount of money from them (police). Failing to produce the said amount, the police dragged him to Sekondi Police station where he was dumped there for six days.
According to Suleyaro, who told this reporter that the said amount extorted from him by the police had collapsed his business, and that he was ready to expose the said officers. According to him, when he was taken to the Sekondi police cells, his family friends and relations openly told him that the police were demanding ¢100 Million for his freedom. The sum became a subject of intense bargaining (by police and family members), and had to be whittled down to ¢75 Million. Suleyaro could not readily identify the exact police officer who was paid the said amount, but his brother, who paid the said amount would not tell this reporter the exact police officer who received the money.
According to Suleyaro, though his family and friends had vouched that he does not deal in drugs, the fear of being charged to court made them cave in to end the case. To him, he knew he was innocent of the charges, but since he had no witness, his family and friends had no option than to settle the police on his behalf. It has become the norm for officers under the DLEU to exploit the illiteracy level of their victims to make money, to the extent that currently two officers from the same unit - DLEU Command, have been interdicted after they unprofessionally assaulted one Francis Essiaw of dealing in drugs.
The police invaded his room, assaulted him and his family and a cash amount of one million cedis vanished from his room. He has currently petitioned the IGP, demanding a cash of hundred million cedi as compensation.
When this reporter met the regional Commander of DLEU in his office over the subject matter, he first expressed shock over the story and and told this reporter that he was unaware of such a name in his file to have been arrested by his boys on suspicion of dealing in drugs. Later, the Commander, ASP Basintale confessed that Suleyaro was indeed arrested.
Asked if the whitish substance the police said was cocaine was indeed so, he replied in the negative and added that with his experience, that substance was not cocaine. He however denied that his men demanded the sum of GH¢ 7500 from the suspect for his release. To him, he had every reason to believe that his men would not do that, but eventually confessed that as a human Institution; he could not vouch for them. But this reporter ís further investigation points to the fact that ASP Basintale knew of how the GH¢ 75000 bribe was taken. It has emerged that the said policeman who took the GH¢ 7500 cedi bribe lives at Beach road, Takoradi.
Source: The Chronicle
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