Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Togo Politician Slams Ghana's BNI
A Togolese presidential candidate and leader of the smaller opposition Parti du Renouveau et de la Redemption PRR, who claims that he was arbitrarily held in detention by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for 13 days on charges of planning a coup d'etat against the Togo government, has petitioned the Ghanaian Head of State, Prof John Atta Mills.
He described the conditions of detention at BNI's headquarters in Accra as filthy, inhuman and worse than those of piggeries in Europe.
Mr. Lawson has since regained his freedom through the intervention of the Togo government.
“They detained me for 13 days and denied me bail and access to my lawyers,” Lawson said at a packed press conference in Lome on Monday August 10.
claims that he was arrested and detained by the Ghana Police and the Bureau of National Investigations in Tema upon framed up charges of illegal importation of army and police uniforms to stage a coup d'etat against Togo, his own country.
But media reports quoted the Ghana Police and BNI as saying that Mr. Lawson was arrested following charges lodged by a Ghanaian lady entrepreneur, Madam Donita Neequaye, of fraud by false pretences.
Later, a search conducted by the Police in his house at Tema led to the discovery of an assortment of military uniforms from Togo, Congo and South Africa, the Togo private daily newspaper, 'Forum de la Semaine' said.
But in a statement to the Police, Mr Lawson claimed that the army uniforms were samples he imported for sale from China.
Mr Lawson also claimed that his Ghanaian company, Diligent Hands Limited, is registered with the Ghana Armed Forces as an official supplier “and is entitled to import samples for showing to customers”.
told the press in Lome yesterday that he was sending a petition to the Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills over “my arbitrary detention as a prisoner in animal conditions for 13 days following a slanderous denunciation and a false allegation by a woman called Donita Neequaye.
“I was humiliated, slapped and threatened to be killed by two agents of Ghana's Criminal Investigations Department”, Lawson stated at the press conference.
“The shameful actions of these two agents of the CID and the dreadful conditions of my detention at the BNI headquarters tarnished deeply the reputation of your country”, Lawson complained in the letter addressed to the Ghanaian Head of State.
The Togolese presidential aspirant accused Ghanaian security operatives at the Port city of Tema of meddling in the internal affairs of Togolese politics.
“When I was brought before the Tema BNI boss, he asked me why I was not supporting Gilchrist Olympio in my country and why the Togo government was preventing him from being a presidential candidate,” Lawson claimed.
The behaviour of the BNI boss of Tema was unacceptable, Lawson protested, adding, “I was denied access to a lawyer.
“I was outraged to see that the agents of your intelligence service can try again to be involved in Togolese internal politics after so many years of destabilization of my country from Ghana”, he said.
Mr Lawson called upon President John Evans Atta Mills “to clean up the Ghana security services who are detaining several thousands of Ghanaian young men and other nationalities filling up the cells of the police and the prisons of your country”.
He regretted that “I have enjoyed the protection of the Ghana government when I was a political refuge between 1993 and 2002 but my dignity has never been ridiculed and my life has never been in danger like it was during the horrible 13 days of my detention”.
He appealed to President John Evans Atta Mills “to accelerate the reform of your judiciary to fight the corruption which is becoming a cancer for your society. “All things that affect your country have consequences on my country.
“I know that I can count on you because you are a man of God and a Christian,” Lawson appealed to President John Evans Atta Mills.
So far the Togolese authorities have not reacted to the allegations by who returned to Togo from Ghana only a few days ago.
From Ebow Godwin, Lome
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