The deportation of the three South African ex-officers arrested by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is a show of utter disrespect to Ghana’s law courts, a former Attorney General, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, has said.
He argued that Ghana’s security agencies that handled the three, could be cited for contempt, because the courts granted the South Africans bail, following their arrest for offering illegal military training to some 15 members of the opposition New Patriotic Party and well as for false declaration.
“Once you put them before a court, why don’t you allow the court to decide on the issues? Why didn’t they just deport them when they were arrested, but chose to go to court? I don’t think it is good enough when it comes to a democratic society and respect for rule of law,” the legal practitioner noted in an interview on Asempa FM ‘Ekosii Sen’ programme on Tuesday 29 March 2016.
The three — Major Ahmed Shaik Hazis (rtd), 54; Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe, 33; and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani, 45 — were arrested at the El-Capitano Hotel in the Central Region.
They had been training 15 members of the opposition New Patriotic Party as security detail for flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Their deportation took place Tuesday March 29, the morning after their entry visas were revoked by the Ghana Immigration Service.
Mr Otoo held a strong view that since the case had been brought before court, it was only the courts that had the power to determine the verdict, hence security officials erred by quickly whisking them away from the country.
“You have taken the people to court, they have been granted bail, and have not been heard, then you have already decided to deport them without a court order and not allow the court to rule as to whether they have actually committed an offence. I don’t think that is the best,” he stressed.
“Usually, when you are trying somebody for a criminal offence, at the end of the day, if the person happens to be a foreigner and he is convicted, then the courts are allowed to issue a deportation order that they should be sent to prison and, after serving their sentences, they shall be deported.”