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Regional News of Sunday, 22 May 2022

Source: K Peprah

Don’t pay money to bail suspects in custody - Chief Inspector tells public

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Police inquiry or self-recognizance bail applied for suspects in custody is free of charge, Chief Inspector Mark Kwabena Okyere, the Drobo Police Station Officer has stated.

He said under no circumstance should anybody pay money to a police officer when applying for bail for suspects, saying such practice was unacceptable in the police service.

Chief Insp. Okyere explained that though it was an offence to detain suspects in custody for more than 48 hours, irrespective of the offence, sureties also ought to meet all conditions before suspects could be granted bail.

He was speaking at a public sensitization forum on the Justice Sector Support (JSS) Activity of the Ghana Case Tracking System (CTS) held at Babianeha, near Drobo in the Jaman South District of the Bono Region.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a non-governmental organisation, with support from MIHOSO International Foundation, its local partners organised the forum to sensitize the community on the CTS and the JSS Activity.

“This implies that the fundamental human rights of suspects must be always respected if they are even in police custody”, Chief Insp. Okyere explained.

The CTS, is an integrated software that tracks criminal cases in the justice delivery system from its inception until their disposition.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the government launched the CTS in 2018 to provide information about criminal cases at every stage in the justice delivery system.

Since then, the system has been set up in the six key justice sector institutions, including the Ghana Police Service, Economic and Organised Crime Unit (EOCO), the Attorney General, Legal Aid Commission, and Judicial Service to track cases.

Earlier in an open forum, most of the participants, comprising traditional authorities, artisanal workers and Assembly Members said they were worried that the police in the area allegedly took huge sums of money from sureties before granting bail to suspects.

But, responding to the concerns, Chief Insp. Okyere said it was unlawful and unethical for any police officer to demand money from suspects or their sureties, and lauded the sensitization forum, saying it had informed the public about their rights and privileges.

Mr Thomas Benarkuu, the Programmes Director of MIHOSO who took the participants through the JSS Activity and the CTS regretted that many people particularly, women and children in the country, were always denied access to justice delivery.

He, therefore, advised the participants to go back and share the knowledge they had acquired so that many people would understand the nation’s justice delivery system and help bring about positive change in society.