Government has said the Commission of Inquiry into political violence in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election failed to present an impartial report.
In a White Paper obtained by JoyNews, government said it cannot accept the whole findings of the Justice Emile Short Commission because of this failure.
Government disagreed with the part of the report which said scenes of chaos and brutality happened in an area close to a polling station and the residence of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate.
The White Paper insists the violent incident was confined only to the front gate of the NDC parliamentary candidate, Delali Brempong.
The Akufo-Addo government also relies on the Electoral Commission’s testimony that the violence did not affect the voting process at the closest polling station.
The Paper said although the Commission established the presence of the Hawks, a “vigilante group allied to the opposition NDC, it failed to add this to its facts and findings section of the report.
Government believes this finding is ‘pertinent’ to the work of the Commission in presenting a “full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to, the events and associated violence.”
This finding of the presence of the Hawks, the Paper said, also cast doubt on the credibility of a key witness, NDC legislator for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel Nartey George.
Government said the Commission should have placed little value on the MP’s testimony also because it found as untrue the MP’s claim that the SWAT team present at Bawaleshie polling station was its creation.
Indeed, the SWAT team was formed between 2010 and 2012 and was present at the 2012 independence parade reviewed by the late President Mills.
The Emile Short Commission: Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Emile Short and Patrick Acheampong
The White Paper also rejected a finding that the SWAT team was deployed to the electoral grounds or for the purpose of electoral security.
The White Paper pointed out a “contradiction” in the report which said in one breath that the SWAT team was there to provide electoral security and in another says the team was deployed to follow up on intelligence that arms were at the residence of the NDC MP.
Government relied on the testimony of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Jean Mensa and also the EC’s presiding officer for Bawaleshie polling station who all maintained that the SWAT team was not at any polling station.
The Akufo-Addo administration also rejected the finding which cast doubt on the credibility of the intelligence that arms were within the residence of the NDC parliamentary candidate.
The Commission described this intelligence as “at best of unreliable quality” noting that this information was not shared with any other state security agency such as the police or defence forces.
But government maintained this information is credible because that per the testimony of the SWAT commander DSP Samuel Azugu, gunshots attracted the attention of his team.
The government said it could not accept the report in whole because of the Commission’s ‘failure’ to meet its first term of reference which was to present a full and an impartial report.