ACP Agordzo ‘fights’ IGP, AG for his job as a senior police officer

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ACP Dr Benjamin Agordzo

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Dr Benjamin Agordzo is fighting for his job as a senior police officer.

He has been on interdiction since November 19, 2019, when he and others were alleged to have been involved in a plot to remove the president of the Republic in a coup but efforts to have it revoked have yielded no results.

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Dr Agordzo has sued the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and attached to his application is the Attorney General (AG).

Dr Benjamin Agordzo indicated that, the refusal of the IGP as per the letter dated May 27, 2020, to accede to the demand made on him by the lawyers on April 23, 2020, to revoke the order of interdiction he imposed on him in 2019 is unlawful.

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The state contends that as a senior police officer, if he remains at post, he can influence the course of the investigation.

But for over a year, ACP Dr Benjamin Agordzo has been in court in an attempt to be fully reinstated even as the High Treason trial continues.

The embattled police office stated in a Joy News report sighted by GhanaWeb that, per police regulations, any such interdiction of an officer must be revoked after three months if no internal disciplinary proceedings are held against such an officer.

Dr Agordzo per his affidavit in support of the motion for Judicial Review filed by his lawyer Martin Kpebu said his “continuous interdiction is in breach of my right to administrative justice and due process.”

Dr Benjamin Agordzo who has served in various capacities for over thirty (31) years and have risen through the ranks to the position of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in his affidavit said, “on November 8, 2019, “the 1st respondent herein in the lawful exercise of powers granted to him under Regulation 105 (1) of the Police Service Regulations, 2012(C176) imposed on me an interdiction order with immediate effect from the 8th day of November 2019.”

He indicated that his “salary was reduced by twenty-five (25%) and I was relieved of all duties as a police officer.”

His lawyer, Martin Kpebu, noted in the affidavit filed to the court that, “after five (5) months of interdiction, I sought legal advice and was advised by counsel that 5-month old interdiction was unlawful because the 1st respondent was under obligation to revoke the interdiction after three (3) months if disciplinary proceedings were not instituted against me.”

When the case was called on Friday, October 22, the respondents in the case the IGP and the AG were absent.

Dr Agordzo lawyer, then, furnished the court with seven authorities he intended to rely on for his case.

The court presided over by Justice Olivia Obeng Owusu, adjourned the case to November 22 while ordering the applicant to ensure the respondents are served with hearing notice.

Dr Benjamin Agordzo and nine others were charged with the highest crime of the land, high treason after the state dropped a previous charge of Treason felony.

They risk the punishment of death should they be found guilty by three High Court judges tasked to hear the matter.

Dr Mac Palm, Donyo Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah, Johannes Zikpi, WO II Esther Saan, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Corporal Ali Solomon and Sylvester Akankpewu are the other suspects.

Below is Dr Agordzo’s affidavit in support of his case culled out from a Starr FM report:

4. That the hearing of this application, my lawyer shall seek leave of this Honourable Court to refer to all processes filed in this case including processes filed by the respondents, if any, as if the same were reproduced in this affidavit in extensor and sworn to on oath.

5. That the 1st respondent is the head of the Ghana Police Service.

6. That the 2nd respondent is the principal legal adviser to the government of Ghana and is mandated by the Constitution (1992) to defend all suits against the State.

7. That I am advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true that the gravamen of the instant application is that the refusal of the 1st respondent herein, as per letter dated 27th May, 2020, to accede to the demand made con him by the lawyers on 23rd April, 2020, to revoke an order of interdiction he imposed on me on 8th November,2019, is unlawful and he (1st respondent) ought to be compelled by this honourable court to revoke the interdiction.

8. The facts on which the instant application is grounded are as follows:

9. That I am a police officer in Ghana Police Service. That I have served in this chosen profession in various capacities for well over thirty (31) years and have risen through the ranks to the position of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).

10. That on the 8th day of November, 2019, the 1st respondent herein in the lawful exercise of powers granted to him under Regulation 105 (1) of the Police Service Regulations, 2012(C176) imposed on me an interdiction order with immediate effect from the 8th day of November, 2019.

11. That consequently, my salary was reduced by twenty-five (25%) and I was relieved of all duties as a police officer.

12. That after five (5) months of interdiction, I sought legal advice and was advised by counsel that 5-month old interdiction was unlawful because the 1st respondent was under obligation to revoke the interdiction after three (3) months if disciplinary proceedings were not instituted against me.

13. That I, therefore, instructed my lawyers to write to the 1st respondent on the 23rd April, 2020, to demand that the interdiction be revoked because the 1st respondent was bound by Regulation 105 (12) to do so, having failed to institute proceedings after three(3) months of ordering my interdiction.

14. That in a letter dated 27th May, 2020, was served on me on the 28th day of May, 2020, the 1st respondent stated that he could not accede to my demand because to revoke the interdiction would among others undermine my “right of presumption of innocence under Article 19 (2) (c) of the 1992 Constitution”.

15. That I am further advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true the 1st respondent cannot, on one hand, exercise his power under Regulation 105(1) to interdict me but refuse to comply with the Regulation 105(2) when there were no pending investigations nor disciplinary proceedings against me.

16. That I am advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true that the refusal of the 1st respondent is contrary to its own admissions in two cases that have must come before this Honourable Court.

17. That in refusing to grant the demand the 1st respondent also relied on Regulations 111 and 94 (2) of CI 76 as well as SI 56 of the Police Service Instructions,2018 but I am advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true that the said provisions are totally inapplicable to the facts and circumstances of the instant case, particularly because, I have a constitutional right to be presumed innocent until a court of competent jurisdiction finds me guilty of a crime.

18. That furthermore, the entire purpose of C1 76 is for the internal regulation of the police service as specified under Article 203(2) of the 1992 Constitution. As such, the provisions contained therein must be construed within the contest contemplated by the constitution without glosses.

19. That I am further advised by counsel and verily believed same to be through that the provisions relied on by the 1st respondent refers to members of the service convicted of criminal offenses that although I have not been convicted of any criminal offense, 1st respondent insist on relying these provisions to continue this illegality and it is obvious that if this honourable court does not intervene to compel 1st respondent, my rights will continue to be trampled by the 1st respondent.

20. That I am informed by counsel and verily believed same to be true that the fact that, “criminal proceedings refers to under SI56(7) of the service instructions (2018) are handled by senior police officers (SPOs) amplifies the fact that regulation 105 of CI76 refers strictly to internal investigation and disciplinary or criminal proceedings only.

21. That in the circumstances, my continued interdiction is in breach of my right to administrative justice and due process.