The two complainants in the alleged assault case brought against the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Bernard Antwi-Bosiako, have withdrawn the case for it to be settled out of court.
At yesterday’s sitting of the Asokwa Magistrate Court, the prosecution, led by Superintendent of Police Mr Emmanuel Akonnor, produced a letter signed by the complainants, Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah, the MP for Manhyia North and the Constituency Secretary, Mr Felix Ibrahim, praying the court to allow the case to be treated as a family matter since all the three persons were officials of the NPP.
The court, presided over by Mr Korkor Owusu Achiaw, subsequently adjourned the case to June 1, 2016 for the parties to report back to him.
Meanwhile, Mr Antwi-Bosiako, popularly referred to as Chairman Wontumi, was admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢20,000, with two sureties, one of whom should deposit a land title document or GH¢10,000 at the court’s registry.
In a chaotic scene at the Regional Police Headquarters in Kumasi where party supporters had massed up in protest against Chairman Wontumi’s arrest, a team of heavily armed policemen whisked the suspect, who had been in police custody since Tuesday, to the Asokwa Magistrate Court.
Activities temporarily came to a halt in the commercial district of Kumasi as hundreds of NPP supporters chased the police convoy on foot, with a few others in vehicles, from Adum to Asokwa.
Hundreds of NPP supporters in jubilant mood go on a procession with Chairman Wontumi after his release on bail. Pictures: EMMANUEL BAAH
They chanted, stamped their feet, drummed and hurled insults at the security personnel as many were prevented from entering the courtroom to listen to the hearing.
Lead counsel for the accused, Mr Egbert Failbille Jnr, who led a seven-member legal team and some party bigwigs, prayed the court to grant the request of the complainants to treat the case as a family matter in the interest of reconciliation, which the courts seek to promote these days.
“All the three have been mandated by the party to work together to protect the interest of the NPP in the ongoing limited registration exercise,” he said.
He said Mr Wontumi’s continued detention would create more chaotic scenes and might not promote peace in the region and the nation as a whole.
“The party expects the three officials to join forces to protect the party’s interest in the exercise,” he added.
Mr Wontumi had earlier pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault against public officials.
Last Sunday, Mr Wontumi allegedly attacked and physically assaulted the MP and the constituency secretary at the Nana Fodjuor Registration Centre at Krofrom in the Manhyia North Constituency.
The two were monitoring the exercise at the polling station when the alleged attack took place, and as a result Mr Ibrahim was admitted to hospital.
According to Mr Ibrahim’s statement, he was suddenly pushed by one of the many machomen following Mr Wontumi.
Mr Wontumi is also alleged to have pushed him against a pile of cement blocks, stepped on his feet and subjected him to severe beatings, while his bodyguards prevented people from restraining the regional chairman.
The accused is also said to have slapped the MP and heaped insults on him.
The two reported the matter at the Tafo Pankrono Police Station where Mr Ibrahim was given a form to attend hospital.
Subsequently, the regional police command issued a warrant for Chairman Wontumi’s arrest to assist in investigations.
However, the Chairman had been evasive until he turned himself in last Tuesday.
Chairman Wontumi and the two have been engaged in shadow boxing over a disputed constituency album which is to be used to elect a parliamentary candidate for the area.
The MP, who is one of the contestants, and Mr Ibrahim are contesting a move by Chairman Wontumi and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NPP to have a re-run of elections to elect all constituency executive members who would form the Electoral College to elect a candidate for the constituency.
Credit: Daily Graphic