A 60-year-old chainsaw operator at the Awutu Camp Prison, Kwame Asumani is serving a twelve (12) month jail term after failing to refund a loan that was used to secure his bail from police custody.
He said he met an accused person, Osei Williams in the cell whom he said had been in custody for over a year after failing to meet his bail conditions imposed on him by a Court.
The Chainsaw operator said he promised to get William bail. This he said was after he got his freedom with the help of his business partner who he indicated took a loan to secure his liberty.
Mr. Asumani said as he promised William, he used his land as surety to get him out of the cell.
Unfortunately for the poor inmate, he said the man who got him the bail demanded a refund of the money the next day, citing pressure from the lender to repay the loan.
Mr. Asumani who could not afford the loan said, ‘the idea was that I would use my land as a surety to secure bail for William so that when he comes out he will pay off his fine so that I will retrieve my land from the court. Unknowingly, William was a fraudster. He bolted so I became stranded.’
He added, ‘my business partner took another loan of Three Thousand Five Hundred Ghana cedis to pay-off the initial loan and also gave some to the police officers at the station. After everything was sorted out, the amount I got was One Hundred and Fifty Ghana cedis,’
Mr. Asumani said the second lender also began mounting pressure on his business friend to offset the loan and because he could not pay, the moneylender and his business partner went to his land to allot a portion of it for sale without his knowledge. “When a neighbor told me about what they were doing I got angry and told them I was not party to their idea because the land is in the hands of the court.” He said.
The moneylender got me re-arrested and I was sentenced to twelve years in prison. “When we went to Court and it was the judge’s turn to pronounce judgment the complainants begged the judge to allow them settle the matter out of court using Alternative Dispute Resolution but he said it was too late.” He cried.
The Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation (CCF), Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng who spoke to Mr. Asumani indicated that it was against the constitution for holding the poor inmate for more than forty-eight hours without a court order. He called for the prosecution of the police officers who superintended over such unlawful detention of Mr. Asumani.
The Non-Custodial Sentencing advocate entreated feuding parties to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to settle their differences than always running to court.
Time With The Prisoner
CCF brings to fore stories of prison inmates to caution the general public against crime.
By Rudolph Nandi