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GPRTU Petitions JAK

By Chronicle
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THE TWIFO Hemang local branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) in the Central Region, with Mr. Anane Agyei as its chairman, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to transfer or sanction Inspector S. K. Kpogbo, the station officer in charge of Twifo Hemang police station for showing gross incompetence and allegedly receiving bribes from suspects.

Speaking to Chronicle at the Twifo Hemang GPRTU new offices, Agyei divulged that a misunderstanding between taxi drivers plying Hemang-Bukuruso village, a distance of 10 kilemetres on the one hand, and passengers on the other, over unapproved fare of ¢1,500 instead of ¢1,000 resulted in unprecedented attacks by the taxi drivers.

The GPRTU chairman told Chronicle that on March 3, 2002, at about 12 noon, Kwesi Quainoo, driver of a bus who was assigned by GPRTU to assist passengers on the said route, reported to the office a misunderstanding with the taxi drivers.

In the course of Quanioo's narration to the chairman, Prempeh, a taxi driver was said to have attacked Quainoo, resulting in a free-for-all fight in which many drivers sustained injuries.

According to the report, the next day, March 9, Prempeh accompanied by suspects Owusu Ansah (driver), Kakrah (driver), Nana Baako (signwriter), Alex Mensah (a known thug), Kwame Kusi (driver), Essuman aka Ship (also a driver), Kwabena Billey (a chain-saw operator) and Kwaku Tipey (a hard-core criminal based at Tema) attacked the house of Quainoo at Pepekrom, a village near Hemang, and vandalized it.

When the suspects returned from Pepekrom, they attacked the GPRTU offices and mercilessly beat up Amaana Mustapha, the station master, whilst the offices were ransacked and vandalized.

The Twifo Hemang police station is adjacent to the main station along the Cape Coast-Twifo Praso road and whereas the incident had been reported on March 9, 2002, Inspector Kpogbo has, as at the time of filing this report, not made any arrest whatsoever.

Frustrated over the behaviour of the inspector who has been accused of befriending one of the suspect's mother, the GPRTU executives, in the company of this reporter, confronted the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) based at Twifo-Praso.

Chronicle gathered that three attempts were made by the ASP and a team of policemen from Twifo-Praso to arrest the suspects upon hearing that the suspects were wielding weapons but these were allegedly thwarted by the inspector.

At the Hemang police station, Inspector Kpogbo was instructed by the ASP to put the suspects before court immediately after the Easter holidays.

The GPRTU executives who were in Cape Coast to attend court on April 4, 2002, were told the suspects had not been arrested or identified and had to go back.

In separate interviews with Kwesi Quainoo aka "Efutu," and Francis Acquah aka "Fire" at the Chronicle office in the presence of GPRTU officials, Quainoo revealed that when GPRTU officials asked him to ply the said route, he was accused of being a stranger in the town and trying to destroy the taxi business.

According to Quainoo, on March 3, 2002, at 2.00pm after he had parked his car in front of the Hemang police station to report his presence to the police, Prempeh and his gang attacked his bus unprovoked and broke all the glasses.

The tyres were punctured with nails whilst the police looked on. Francis Acquah, a resident at Pepekrom, was mercilessly beaten when he paid a visit to Hemang and the police intervened, sent him to the Twifo-Praso hospital and later detained him at the charge office till the next day, for no apparent reason.

He lost ¢470,000 in the attack and was rescued by the police, partially naked.

Another victim, Kofi Kumi, a beer barkeeper at Hemang who hails from Pepekrom where Acquah's house came under attack was also severely beaten but was rescued later by the police and sent to the Twifo- Praso hospital for treatment.

He was also later detained at the police station overnight.

He claimed he lost ¢1 million during the attack. When the two victims pleaded for bail, they were told to "speak English," which is to say they should bail themselves out with money.

They claimed the initial offer of ¢20,000 for both of them was rejected by Inspector Kpogbo who finally took ¢40,000 from them.

The case has been withdrawn by the court unit at the police station for further investigations including the bribe issue, according to a police source.

The two victims have confirmed this.

Meanwhile, Inspector Kpogbo has denied taking bribe and in the presence of his ASP denied befriending the mother of any of the suspects.