Hello IGP, weed out the Corporal Agbovi Tettehs in your fold now!

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Dear sir,

Let me start by wishing you a happy New Year. Let me state also that I have taken notice of the community engagements you have undertaken over the past weeks. Keep it up sir, for it is gradually restoring public confidence in an institution the public relies so much on, but has very little trust in.
Sir, permit me to refresh your memory on an incident that occurred several years before you became IGP. I refer you to the case of how G/CPL Valentino Gligah and EC/1 Abdulai Atiso raped a poor trader, Cynthia Nyanteh. Cynthia Nyante was a trader who hawked second hand clothes on the Kinbu road near the Central Police Station, Accra. She alleged that on the 22nd day of June, 1998, whilst selling her wares as she normally does around the Central Police Station, the two accused persons, called her to their office, pushed her into a store room and had sex with her in turns without her consent. Speaking for the majority in that case, Justice Jones Dotse had this to say,
‘For example, if an Internal Auditor, whose duty it is to check Accountants in the performance of their work either colludes or abets in the embezzlement of funds of the organisation, one will expect the Internal Auditor to be drastically dealt with because it was he who abdicated his watchman role to facilitate the committing of the crime. Similarly, in the present case, the accused persons who are policemen and mandated to maintain law and order but have rather become the perpetrators of crimes against innocent law-abiding citizens who they are to protect must receive harsh and deterrent sentences. It is our firm hope and belief that the time has indeed come for the courts to deal very ruthlessly with perpetrators of such heinous crimes such as rape or defilement especially when the accused happen to be policeman, teachers who have charge of the victim or even parents or guardians. This is the only way by which as a country we can protect the sanctity and chastity of our women and girls.iThe case above though shocking, didn’t surprise many who have known and suspected the Ghana Police service of such abuse for years. Taking advantage of vulnerable persons is not only despicable but also unprofessional.

Sir, that brings me to the main reason for this open letter. I am here today because of the alleged conduct of one of your men, Corporal Agbovi Tetteh stationed at the Asutuare Police station has allegedly decided to do the unthinkable.

Sir, before I go into the substantive issue of the rape, let me dwell briefly on the issue of rights of suspects in police custody. I have seen videos of you visiting inmates in overcrowded police cells. In some instances, you openly reprimanded station officers for packing inmates into their cells beyond their allowable capacities. Sir, with the abolition of section 96 (7) of Act 30iii due to the court’s holding in Martin Kpebu vrs The Attorney General (No.2),iv which has made all offences bailable, one can only wonder why most of our police cells remain packed. Back to Precious Azumah! Why did it take a male officer to accompany her to the bathroom, is that the norm? Is there no female officer at Asutuare Police station? Couldn’t a female officer have been brought from the nearest police station for that purpose? What happened to Precious Azumah’s dignity? Sir, according to Article 15 of the 1992 Constitutionv
(1) The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
(2) No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or retained, be subjected to –
(a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(b) any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.
(3) A person who has not been convicted of a criminal offence shall not be treated as a convicted person and shall be kept separately from convicted persons.

If it is the norm that male police officers accompany female suspects to bathrooms, that must cease forthwith. It isn’t only unconstitutional per Article 15 above, but despicable. This cannot be happening under a man of your stature, considering the good image you have tried so far to carve for the service. .
Now to the rape! The Case of Gligah and Atiso vrs the Republic clearly outlined the ingredients of rape. According to the court,

Now to the rape! The Case of Gligah and Atiso vrs the Republic clearly outlined the ingredients
of rape. According to the court,

  1. That someone has had carnal knowledge of the victim, in this case Precious Azumah by the
    accused person
  2. That, the someone is the accused person, in the instant case, the two accused person.
  3. That the victim (Precious Azumah) was carnally known against her wish i.e. in this case,
    that the accused had sex with her against her will in a bathroom inside a police station.

At this stage all the above are mere allegations, I admit, however this isn’t good for the image of the police service your are trying to build. Having consensual sexual relations with a suspect, within the confines of a police station is something I know your of ethics will certainly frown upon. How much more a vulnerable, helpless woman under your custody? This is bad sir, very bad! Dor the sake of emphasis I reproduce portions of the Chapter on MAJOR OFFENCES in C.I. 76 , that is the Police Service Regulations, 2012 for your attention.
Section 82. (1) It is a major offence for an officer to:
(b) use without lawful authority any property or facilities of the Service for a purpose not in connection with official duties;
(c) engage in an activity outside official duties which is likely to
(ii) lead to the officer taking improper advantage of that officer’s position in the Service;
(h) do without reasonable excuse an act which
(i) amounts to a failure to perform in a proper manner, a duty imposed on the officer;
(ii) contravenes any enactment relating to the Service;
(iii) is otherwise prejudicial to the efficient conduct of the Service; or
(iv) brings the Service into disrepute;

Sir, according to the regulations cited above the following are some of the penalties for major
Penalty for Major and Minor Offences
85.(1) For the purposes of this regulations
(a) dismissal, termination and reduction in rank are penalties for major offences;
(b) deferment of increment, stoppage of increment, reprimand resulting in the deferment of increment or stoppage of increment for a specified period and caution are penalties for minor offences; and
(c) penalties other than dismissal, termination and removal from office lapses after twelve and six months respectively.
(2) A disciplinary authority shall in imposing a penalty on an officer for misconduct, take into consideration the rank of the officer, the nature and circumstances of the misconduct as well as other factors that the disciplinary authority considers appropriatevii

Sir, from the above you have all it takes to make a very strong example out of this officer, if he is found to have indeed committed the said offence as alleged. This piece isn’t to blame you for the misdirected, irresponsible, insensitive and reckless libido of one police officer. Not at all! For now, we pray the young lady in question is given the justice she deserves. Secondly, whiles the court process is ongoing kindly make an example of Corporal Agbovi Tetteh (even
if he claims the said sexual encounter is consensual).
In conclusion, please use your high office to ensure that this case isn’t buried. So far I am yet to see this story on any major news outlet. I know you are not the type of IGP who will bury
such a story to ‘protect the image of the service’ at the expense of giving Patience Azumah justice. I admit you do not control the media, but in the spirit of the community engagement your outfit has undertaken over the last few weeks, please visit the victim of this shameful act and render an apology to her. That is the least she can get if her dignity as provided in Article 15 above can be restored in the least way possible.
Secondly trigger all internal punitive measures so this acts as a deterrent to such unruly officers. This must not be happening in this time and age, certainly not under an IGP hailed as the best we have seen in recent times. Sir, please bear in mind that ‘to deny people of their humanity is to challenge their very humanity’- Nelson Mandelaviii.
God bless you sir, and more grease to your elbows.

NB: this is the first in a series of monthly open letters I will write to heads of critical arms of
state and institutions tasked to protect the dignity of Ghanaians.

ii https://www.ghpage.com/policeman-rapes-suspected-thief-in-his-custody/217444/
iii Section 96 (7) of the Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act, 1960
iv Martin Kpebu vrs The Attorney General (J1 13 2015) [2016] GHASC 15 (05 MAY, 2016)
vi Section 82, C.I. 76 , The Ghana Police Service Regulations, 2012.
vii Section 85, C.I. 76 , The Ghana Police Service Regulations, 2012.
viii https://unfoundation.org/blog/post/11-top-quotes-on-human-rights

Featured Image Source: assets.sentinelassam.com
Story by: Francis Boye
(A citizen, not a spectator)