Lawyers for the three South African ex-police officers being held for criminal charges have threatened to cite the Bureau of National Investigations [BNI] for contempt of court for the continuous detention of the three.
Although the three have since Thursday been granted bail by a Circuit Court in Accra, the lawyers say officials of the Bureau have refused to release the ex-officers who are facing five counts of conspiracy, unlawful training and making false declaration.
“The kind of defiance of this BNI operatives, I can’t define it,” one of the lawyers, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea told Accra-based Joy FM, noting “I have been at the BNI for over four hours and wasn’t even given the courtesy to see the one in charge”.
He said the team of seven lawyers will meet over the matter on Tuesday, and that they are likely to initiate contempt proceedings against the Bureau, which has over the years been criticized for what many have described as its penchant for disrespecting court orders.
Mr Atta Akyea argued that once the people were taken to court and the court granted them bail, processing of the bail was the responsibility of the court registry, hence wondered why the BNI officials whisked his clients away after the brief court hearing.
According him, although the three – Major Ahmed Shaik Hazis (rtd), 54; Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe, 33, and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani, 45- have satisfied the bail condition – GHC20,000 each with a surety- officials of the Bureau have refused to even inspect the property used for the execution of the bail.
He described the action of the BNI as a “melodrama with no consequence,” pointing out “the BNI isn’t a law unto itself”. He wondered why the Bureau, although considered the court as a bastion of the rule of law, and took the accused persons to court, yet refused to comply with the court’s order.
The three, whose acts were considered by the Bureau of National Investigations as a threat to national security, pleaded not guilty to five counts of conspiracy to commit crime, unlawful training and making false declaration when they made their first appearance in court Thursday afternoon.
The prosecution claims the three were training five people in military tactics at Agona Duakwa in the Central Region. According to the prosecution, their investigation has revealed “the accused persons filed disembarkation forms indicating that they were in Ghana to do business.”
Police prosecutors led by DSP A.A. Anor told the court investigations are still ongoing and prayed the court for the three to be remanded to get to the bottom of the case but the defence team objected. The court having listened to the argument from both sides, granted the accused persons bail, Onua FM’s Court correspondent, Lydia Ezit reported
The Court said the bail is subject to “how speedy the prosecution will pursue the matter” and warned prosecutors it will be compelled to release the passport of the accused persons to them should there be any delays, she added.