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Ghanaians are singing the praises of the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Samuel Tibil Punobyin, after an undercover investigative piece dubbed “Cash for Justice” vindicated him.

The investigation was conducted between July and October 2019, by the EIB Network’s Edward Adeti following complaints from frustrated residents who alleged that the Attorney-General’s Department in the Upper East Region was taking bribes from crime suspects to twist the course of justice.

Lynching of crime suspects became prevalent in the region as the civilian population, who felt the law office had become compromised, resorted to getting justice their own way.

Disturbed about the state of insecurity in the region as notorious criminals reportedly had found a refuge in the compromised law office, C/Supt. Punobyin penned a strong petition in January 2018, against a senior state’s attorney in the region, Emmanuel Lawrence Otoo-Boison. In the petition, the police boss stated that the public prosecutor had consciously been setting crime suspects free by the kinds of advice he proffered on dockets.

The region’s Chief State Attorney, George Y.F. Kpodo, fired back in July 2019, with a written rejoinder. He defended the Senior State Attorney as a hardworking and honest man and threatened the commander with a legal action for defamation if he failed to retract his statement and apologise within two weeks.

C/Supt. Punobyin came under pressure more so as his superiors at the Upper East Regional Police Headquarters reportedly turned their backs on him. But he stood his grounds even though neither he nor the frustrated residents had any evidence to back their claims against the state’s attorney.

Docked and Mocked

In the midst of his faceoff with the Attorney-General’s Department, he also rejected cash from a suspect’s relatives who attempted to bribe him in dollars so he could assist them free their relation who had been convicted of rape and robbery and sentenced by the Bolgatanga Circuit Court to 17 years’ imprisonment.

Those relatives succeeded in getting the conviction and the sentence set aside at the Bolgatanga High Court One after they reportedly had gone to the Attorney-General’s Department.

The commander resisted the release of the convict from the Navrongo Central Prisons by re-arresting him immediately. He was invited for contempt by the Bolgatanga High Court One over the re-arrest he made. It was a showdown between him and the presiding judge, Justice Jacob B. Boon. C/Supt. Punobyin’s troubles doubled as pressure mounted on him to retract and apologise. Yet, he did not.

The EIB Network’s investigative findings popped up from nowhere in the last week of October 2019. The airing of the Cash for Justice Documentary last Thursday on GhOne Television revealed shocking results which were consistent with the claims the angry public and C/Supt. Punobyin had stood by for years. A former Upper East Regional Police Commander, DCOP Redeemer Vincent Dedjoe, had complained similarly about the Attorney-General’s Department before he left on transfer to take charge of the Western Region.

Social Media Comments

After watching the piece on the television and on YouTube, many have reacted with showers of accolades on the commander on social media platforms.

“He is firm and disciplined in his personal life and at duty post,” wrote Samuel Mbura, a popular broadcaster, with a photograph of the commander on his Facebook wall.

Emmanuel Agumah commented: “God bless and protect such a professional police officer for Ghana.”

“I use [sic] to think all the honest people were gone until his inception. He stood up to his integrity,” Cletus Ayam remarked.

“I had encountered him several time [sic],” said Patrick Anamoo. “The rule of his game is win win. Thank God for your life commander,” he added.

Whilst Maxwell Chelimbalem extolled the commander as one who always stood by his word, Yaw Mort called for him to be celebrated before his retirement. Others like Azure David AzureGh and Citizen Thomas pushed for his promotion and praise from the President respectively. Then, Azongo Austine Winner and several others prayed profusely for him.

The social media comments did not go without a reference to the Senior State Attorney. Musah Akolgo remarked: “Herrr. The other man fall into the counting of the money trap. Is it your salary? Why did he insist u count and u abide? So if it’s not up he will top up? And he needs money from people to go and study. Ghana!”

“When money corrupts your brain,” said Gaspard Ayuureneeya, a popular broadcaster, “you keep counting small money over and over.”

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