The suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Paul Afoko, yesterday told the Human Rights Court that he decided not to attend the party’s Disciplinary Committee proceedings that led to his suspension because he was afraid for his life.
“I had credible information that a group of thugs who describe themselves as ‘invisible forces’ had been marshalled to come to the party headquarters annex where the proceedings were taking place to physically attack me,’’ he said.
Mr Afoko made the claim during cross-examination by the legal team of the NPP at the start of the trial of a case that he (Afoko) had filed at the court challenging his suspension.
Prior to the cross-examination, Mr Afoko had tendered his statement as his evidence-in-chief to the court.
Lead counsel for the NPP, Mr Godfred Dame, however, stated that Mr Afoko’s refusal to attend the proceedings was part of Afoko’s grand scheme to stall and frustrate the work of the committee.
“The claim about a supposed threat of attack on you at the party’s headquarters annex is not true because it was part of a calculated effort by you (Afoko) to frustrate the proceedings of the Disciplinary Committee,’’ he said.
According to Mr Dame, Mr Afoko refused to appear before the committee by giving many excuses.
“Apart from the safety issue, your lawyers informed the committee that you were ill and subsequently presented a medical report signed by your brother,’’ he asserted.
Mr Afoko, to support his claim, further told the court that he was adequately represented by his legal team at the committee proceedings and that he informed the committee that the only way he would attend its proceedings was if it moved the proceedings to a different venue to ensure his safety.
“Indeed, I sought to help by offering to pay for proceedings to take place at a location where I would feel safe,’’ he added.
On the medical report prepared by his brother, Mr Afoko pointed out that his brother is a medical consultant at the Tamale Teaching Hospital and that he was very conversant with his condition.
Apart from Mr Afoko’s inability to appear before the Disciplinary Committee, another issue that dominated the cross-examination was the claim by him that the NPP’s Disciplinary Committee failed to listen to a preliminary legal objection raised by his legal team before taking the decision to suspend him.
The said legal objection concerned the membership of one Alhaji Abubakar Rahman on the committee.
Mr Afoko claimed that Alhaji Rahman had not been duly appointed onto the committee and, therefore, “if the committee had considered his preliminary legal objection, it would have realised that it had engaged in something unconstitutional”.
Mr Dame strongly refuted the plaintiff’s claim, stating that Afoko’s legal team never raised any legal objection to Alhaji Rahman’s membership of the Disciplinary Committee.