Messrs Christian Kokroko and Bright Ankama, a clerk at Paintsil and Paintsil law firm and dispatch rider respectively, have filed a writ at an Accra High Court against an Accra based businessman, Edem Affram, the Inspector General of police and the Attorney General seeking punitive damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment assessed at GH¢950,000.00.
According to the plaintiffs, the conduct of Mr Edem Affram, who allegedly caused their arrest and detention at the National Security headquarters, popularly referred to as Blue Gate, for an hour and at the Police Headquarters for several hours, violates their fundamental human rights enshrined in Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution, hence their demand for damages to be awarded against him, pursuant to Article 14(15) of the 1992 constitution.
In a statement of claim accompanying the writ, the first plaintiff, Christian Kokroko said On Monday 24th May, 2021, his employer gave him a letter dated 20th May, 2021 for onward delivery to the 1st Defendant at his known residence at Trassaco Valley. He subsequently hired the 2nd Plaintiff’s services.
According to him, the security guards of the first defendant told him (plaintiff) that they could not receive the letter and he, together with the dispatch rider, decided to leave the place.
However, before the Plaintiffs could exit the second security gate, the 1st Defendant arrived there with his security guard and ordered the latter to restrain both plaintiffs from leaving and also seize their mobile phones, which instructions the 1st Defendant’s personal security guard complied with, roughly manhandling each plaintiff in turn and seizing each Plaintiffs’ mobile phone.
In response to the 1st Defendant’s instructions, a group of five fully armed men arrived at the scene in about ten minutes time, in a convoy of two cars and without any enquiry or reasonable cause, violently seized the Plaintiffs and bundled them into one of their cars and drove off to their office, popularly known as Blue Gate.
The Plaintiffs were detained for about an hour before finally transferring the them into cells at the Ghana Police Service Headquarters for further detention, until about 9:00pm when the Plaintiffs were admitted to self-recognisance bail.
The following is the full statement of claim as filed in court;
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
HUMAN RIGHTS DIVISION
ACCRA – A. D. 2021
1. CHRISTIAN KOKROKO
2. BRIGHT ANKAMAH … PLAINTIFFS
C82 TRASACCO VALLEY,
1. EDEM AFFRAM
313 TRASACCO VALLEY
2. THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
HEADQUARTERS, RING ROAD EAST
3. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
ATTORNEY GENERALS DEPT
MINISTRIES, ACCRA. … DEFENDANTS
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
1. The 1st Plaintiff is a law clerk of the law firm Paintsil, Paintsil& Co., whiles the 2nd Plaintiff plies his trade as a motor dispatch rider.
2. The 1st Defendant is or claims to be a very rich business man with connections to the state security services as well as the rich, high and mighty in Ghana.
3. The 2nd Defendant is the Inspector General of the Ghana Police Service and is by law vicariously liable for the performance or purported performance of all subordinate police officers in Ghana, in which capacity he has been sued in the instant suit for the conduct of police personnel complicit in the matters alleged in paragraphs 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Statement of Claim.
4. The 3rd Defendant is the Principal Legal Adviser to the Ghana Government and is defendant in all civil proceedings against the State pursuant to Article 88 (5) of the Constitution, 1992.In connection with these proceedings the 3rd Defendant has been sued in respect of the conduct of the state security personnel as the same is more particularly specified in paragraphs 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Statement of Claim.
5. On Monday 24th May, 2021, the 1st Plaintiff’s employer entrusted the 1st Plaintiff with a letter dated 20th May, 2021 for onward delivery to the 1st Defendant at his known residence at Trassaco Valley, in connection with which the 1st Plaintiff hired the 2nd Plaintiff’s services.
6. On reaching the 1st Defendant’s residence, and without entering the premises, the 1stPlaintiff noticed the presence of the 1st Defendant’s personal security guard and beckoned to him and notified him of the 1st Plaintiff’s mission. Consequently, the 1st Defendant’s personnel security guard used his mobile phone to call the 1st Defendant and the Plaintiffs evidently heard him advise the 1st Defendant of the 1st Plaintiff’s presence and mission.
7. At the end of the call, the security guard advised the 1st Plaintiff that the 1st Defendant would not receive the letter and that he was also under instructions not to receive same. The Plaintiffs therefore had no option, but to exit the gated community, which the Plaintiffs did by sitting on the 2nd Plaintiff’s motor bike and headed outside, passing through a first security gate and reaching a second security gate which is the main exit.
8. However, before the Plaintiffs could exit the second security gate, the 1st Defendant arrived there with his security guard and ordered the latter to restrain both plaintiffs from leaving and also seize their mobile phones, which instructions the 1st Defendant’s personal security guard complied with, roughly manhandling each plaintiff in turn and seizing each Plaintiffs’ mobile phone.
9. At the same time that the 1st Defendant’s personal security guard was manhandling the Plaintiffs, the 1st Defendant used his mobile phone to make a call and was evidently heard to give instructions to someone believed to be in the employment of the state security services to come to the scene with his men to effect the arrest of the Plaintiffs.
10. In response to the 1st Defendant’s instructions, a group of five fully armed men arrived at the scene in about ten minutes time in a convoy of two cars and, without any enquiry or reasonable cause, violently seized the Plaintiffs and bundled the Plaintiffs into one of their cars and drove off to their office popularly known as Blue Gate and detained the Plaintiffs for about an hour before, finally, transferring the Plaintiffs into cells at the Ghana Police Service Headquarters for further detention until about 9:00pm when the Plaintiffs were admitted to self-recognizance bail.
11. By reason of the matters aforesaid or during the course of the said conduct on the part of the state security personnel, the 2nd Plaintiff’s left arm was twisted and the 2nd Plaintiff suffered a visible, swollen bump on his hand above the wrist.
12. Further, at the time of the arrest and throughout the period of detention, and notwithstanding the Plaintiffs’ protestations, the Plaintiffs were not informed on what charge or on what suspicion of what crime the Plaintiffs were arrested.
13. In the premises, the 1st Defendant caused his personal security guard as well as the state security agents to assault and batter the Plaintiffs.
14. Further, the 1st Defendant, the state security agents and the Ghana Police Service caused the Plaintiffs to be wrongfully imprisoned and deprived of their liberty for the entire period of the detention.
15. By reason of the matters aforesaid, the Plaintiffs sustained severe shock and mental anguish and anxiety and have suffered loss and damage.
Particulars of loss and damage
(i) The Plaintiffs repeat paragraphs 10,11,12,13 and 14 of the Statement of Claim hereto;
(ii) The 1stPlaintiff’s employer lost the benefit of the services due from the 1st Plaintiff for the rest of the said day;
(iii) The 1st Plaintiff’s wife suffered shock and anxiety upon hearing of the arrest and detention without knowledge of the place of the 1st Plaintiff’s detention;
(iv) The 2ndPlaintiff lost the benefit of income he would have derived for the rest of the day, which is yet to be quantified; and
(v) The 2nd Plaintiff continues to suffer pain in his injured hand and is presently unable to assess with specificity the injury suffered and remedy unless the same has been assessed by an expert.
16. Further, the 1st Defendant acted as aforesaid out of spite and malice towards the Plaintiffs, and caused the Plaintiffs to be arrested in broad day light and in the public and thereby subjected the Plaintiffs to humiliation and disgrace and brought them to ridicule and contempt.
(i) The 1st Defendant knows the 2nd Plaintiff as a resident of Trassaco Valley;
(ii) The 1st Defendant knows the 2nd Plaintiff as dispatch rider whose services are regularly used by Charles Oppong Kyekyeku, 1st Defendant’s business partner with whom he has recently fallen out;
(iii) The 1st Defendant had good reason to know or believe that the letter meant for delivery to him by the 1st Plaintiff was at the instance of the said Charles Oppong Kyekyeku;
(iv) A considerable part of the weapons in the 1st Defendant’s armoury in his personal vendetta with Charles Oppong Kyekyeku is the resort to the use by him of the security services to harass and intimidate Charles Oppong Kyekyeku and any person seen to be allied to him in any way with a view to striking fear in all such persons; and
(v) By resorting to the use of his personal security as well as the state security agents in the circumstances of this case formed part of a well-orchestrated strategy by the 1st Defendant to settle personal scores with Charles Oppong Kyekyeku regardless of the consequences to the victims, being the Plaintiffs herein.
17. Further, or in the alternative, the 1st Defendant had no good or probable reason to cause the Plaintiffs’ arrest.
18. In the premises, the conduct of the 1stDefendant, his personal security guard, the state security service agents and the Ghana Police Service was arbitrary, oppressive and/or unconstitutional and the same constitutes a breach of the Plaintiffs’ fundamental human rights guaranteed by Article 14(1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
19. The Plaintiffs will at the hearing of the case seek an order directed to the 1st Defendant’s mobile phone service providerto bring to the court the record of the phone calls the 1st Defendant made to reveal the identity of the state security agent he called and, by necessary implication, compel the 1st Defendant to reveal the identity of all five state security personnel as well as the name of his personal security guard for the purpose of their being joined to the suit as defendants.
WHEREFORE, and in the circumstances, the Plaintiffs seek against the Defendants, jointly and severally, as follows:
i. Declaration that the 1st Defendant’s or alternatively the Defendants’’ conduct aforesaid violates the Plaintiffs’ fundamental human rights enshrined in Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution;
ii. An award of damages pursuant to Article 14(15) of the 1992 Constitution; and
iii. Aggravated and Punitive damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment assessed at GH¢950,000.00.
DATED AT PAINSTIL, PAINTSIL & CO., GOSHEN CHAMBERS, HOUSE NO. 26, FARRAR AVENUE, BETWEEN HOTEL PRESIDENT AND TATTERS BOUTIQUE, ADABRAKA, ACCRA. THIS 28TH DAY OF MAY, 2021.
KWEKU Y. PAINTSIL, ESQ.
SOLICITOR FOR THE PLAINTIFFS .LICENCE NO. eGAR
ACCRA. THIS 28TH DAY OF MAY, 2021.