The 13 Delta Force escapees who fled after their first case hearing have been fined GHc 2,400 each for avoiding court verdict. Members of the pro-NPP vigilante group who were illegally freed by their compatriots at the Kumasi Circuit Court last week, appeared before the court today, Tuesday April 11, 2017.
The Delta Force escapees were convicted on their own plea and fined 200 penalty units. A penalty unit is 12 cedis and they are to pay this amount or face a three-year jail term for escaping from the court after they were remanded. They were also ordered by the court presided over by Justice Ekow Mensah, to sign a bond of good behaviour and live that behaviour for a period of six months, or in default serve two years jail term.
The 13 members were facing charges earlier at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly court, for allegedly assaulting the Ashanti regional security coordinator George Adjei. Altercations had ensued following court’s decision to remand them 13 members till the next hearing. This was after they were charged with conspiracy to assault a public officer and cause unlawful damage.
The 13 Delta Force members escaped after their counterparts invaded the court during the trial and freed them amid the altercations with police. The 13 fugitives, however, turned themselves in later on.
During the court hearing, Lawyer for the 13 Delta Force members, Gary Nimako Marfo, pleaded guilty to the offence. He however asked for leniency on their behalf considering the fact that they were first-time offenders and in fact turned themselves in after escaping lawful custody. But this didn’t stop the court from dishing out the fine to the Delta Force escapees.
The substantive case has been slated for April 20, 2017.
UN Condemns Delta Force Attack
The United Nations (UN) has condemned the attack by the vigilante group affiliated to the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The organisation has released a statement condemning the act, urging that necessary measures be taken to investigate the raids and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The statement was authored by the special representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN’s Office for West Africa and the Sahel; Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and the resident coordinator of the UN system in Ghana; Christiane Evans-Klock.
The UN condemned the open court attack, as well as several others staged by the vigilante group. The intergovernmental organisation has also called for more attention on the part of the government towards the issue. This is in regards to the seeming silence of President Nana Addo’s administration on the controversial matter.
President Nana Addo has come under pressure following the recent Delta Force attacks, with many demanding for more action on his part. The President has been criticised by some stakeholders for being lenient with the pro-NPP vigilante group despite their exploits. Many have come up with the rationale that Nana Addo has been lenient because the vigilante group is affiliated with his party.
Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Chairman Wontumi as a matter of fact, is the patron of the pro-vigilante group. The NPP loyalist had been summoned at the Flagstaff House following the earlier Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council raid by the same group. However, nothing has been heard from the summons.
The UN also decried government’s inability to follow up on the events – an action considered detrimental to the country’s image.