The government of Ghana has rejected a recommendation by the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry which probed the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election gun violence that a National Security operative with the police SWAT team, Mr Mohammed Sulemana, who slapped the opposition Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Sam Nartey George, be prosecuted.
“The Commission recommends the criminal prosecution for the offence of assault, to wit, the slapping of Mr Samuel George by Mohammed Sulemana”, the Commission’s report proposed.
The report said: “The Commission notes that members of the SWAT team committed criminal assault against certain members of the gathered crowd. In its assessment, the Commission notes that some of these instances of assault were committed while the victims were in flight and fleeing from the SWAT team who were giving chase. Questioned, a member of the team (Mr Sulemana Mohammed) agreed that the assault meted out did not conform to the standard training given for effecting the arrest. Indeed, a member of parliament, Mr Samuel Nartey George who was on the electoral grounds when the incident took place, was assaulted by the said Mohammed Sulemana. While confirming the incident of assault, Sulemana informed the Commission that he slapped the person he did not know was a Member of Parliament, because, the person insulted him and his ethnic group. He further explained that had he known he was a Member of Parliament; he would not have slapped him. The Commission notes that the entire encounter between the said Sulemana and the said Hon. Mr. George resulting in the slap administered by the said Sulemana was regrettable.
It continued: “In this connection, the Commission notes that the action of the said Sulemana Mohammed in responding to an alleged insult with a slap was unprofessional and must be condemned”.
The Commission, however, noted that “the behaviour of Mr Sam George, within the context of a highly-charged environment, was somewhat inappropriate and ill-advised, and could have even endangered his own safety”.
Responding to the Commission’s report, the government, through a white paper, said it “does not accept the Commission’s recommendation that Mohammed Sulemana must be prosecuted for the offence of assault, to wit, the slapping of the Honourable Member of Parliament Mr Samuel Nartey George on the basis that the Commission at paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 on page 55 of the report accepted the fact which led to the said assault on the Hounourable Member of Parliament Mr Samuel Nartey George, which facts support a valid defence of provocation for the said assault”.