Ghana has deported three former South African policemen arrested for training bodyguards of the country’s main opposition presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
A lawyer for the three accused South Africans confirmed their deportation to Accra-based JoyNews.
According to online portal myjoyonline.com, the 3 ex-policemen “were seen boarding a South African Airways flight bound for Johannesburg Tuesday morning at the Kotoka International Airport.” Their visas have also been reportedly revoked by Ghana’s Immigration Service.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) at a press conference last Thursday indicated that it had contracted the three, Major (rtd) Chris Hazis – 54, Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe – 33 and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani – 45, because it had evidence pointing to possible life-threatening attacks on its leader.
The ex-policemen were arrested at the El-Capitano Hotel in the Central regional town of Agona Dunkwa, 17 days after they had arrived in the country.
They were charged with unlawful training (of 15 young men in various military drills, including unarmed combat, weapons handling, VIP protection techniques and rapid response manœuvres) and conspiracy to commit crime.
The Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) which arrested the 3 foreigners, refused to release them even though a circuit court in the country’s capital, Accra had granted them bail on Thursday March 24.
The BNI kept the suspects until their deportation Tuesday morning, reports myjoyonline.com.
One of the lawyers for the South Africans, Samuel Atta Akyea told JoyNews that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) at whose invitation the ex-servicemen had come to the country, would cite the BNI for contempt for refusing to release them after the court had granted them bail.
He is quoted as saying that the security agency (BNI) had shown by its actions that the court’s authority “does not matter”.
The court was scheduled to recall the case against the three South Africans on April 12. Nana Asante Bediatuo, one of their lawyers, told the BBC that though the charges of conspiracy to commit crime and unlawful training have not been dropped, their deportation makes it impossible for the case to continue in court.
Local media report that the Interior Ministry had said the activities of the three could compromise the outcome of Ghana’s general elections slated for November this year.
Lawyer Atta Akyea however told JoyNews the deportation of the accused persons has belittled the seriousness of the country’s security systems.
He argued that if the state really believed that the South Africans were criminals, it should have prosecuted them in court because “that was what properly governed societies do.”
The deportation, the lawyer said, indicates that the charges brought by the state against the three were all a ‘farce’.