NE/R: 25yr-old tortured by Chief for gold theft

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A young man in Gbankoni near Bunkprugu in the northeast region, suspected of stealing a piece of gold from his friends, has suffered a jaw and neck wounds after he was summoned to the chief palace and tortured to admit the offence.

Naa Abuba Simong was said to have ordered his guards to coerce confessions from the young man through severe beatings before seizing his motorbike, detaining him for several hours without food and later handed him over to police who also held him for over 72hrs.

Bunbon Benjamin was dragged to the chief palace last Thursday by two of his friends who accused him of stealing a piece of gold from them.

Benjamin and his friends travelled out of the village to engage in illegal galamsey in the Ashanti Region where the incident occurred.

Information gathered by Starr News indicated that one of Benjamin’s friends named Emma first stole the gold from their workplace and informed them about the theft.

According to the information, Benjamin and the other friend then decided to also steal the gold from Emma, so they overfed him with alcohol.

They all pretended intoxicated and as their truly boozed friend slept deeply, they took away the gold. Benjamin was then tasked to sell the gold, only for him to come and handed over a paltry Gh2, 500.

Benjamin’s friend felt cheated and incensed, so he informed Emma who first stole the gold from the illegal mining concession.

A misunderstanding broke between the friends and after initial denials, Benjamin later allegedly admitted the crime and told his friends he sold the gold at GHc13, 000.

Unable to resolve the dispute, the friends reported the matter to their family heads in Gbankoni in the Bunkpurgu District of the North East region and the three were summoned home. The friends demanded an amount of GHc90, 000, which they believed the gold was sold by Benjamin.

After several meetings, the matter was reported to the Bunkprugu chief after the families repeatedly failed to reach a settlement. The chief then invited the disputed friends and their family heads on Thursday, June 28, to hear the case at his palace.

Speaking to Starr News, the suspect claimed he was brutalized upon orders of the chief and forced to make concessions.

“When I went to Bunkprugu chief palace, the judgement was only on me”, he said. “They were only basing on me that I’m the one who stole the gold.”

“They collected my motor and after the judgement, I saw that they were beating me, they slapped me in front of the chief and up to date, my neck is still paining me. The chief even said that he will beat me more than this.

“They took me inside the chief’s palace and let my parents went home and I was there up to seven in the evening and they took me to the police station and I slept there for four days. They did not feed me until my sisters got to know that I was inside the cell”.

He said the chief ruled against him and ordered that his properties be confiscated. According to him, the chief also gave him three months to bring back all the GHc90, 000.

In response when contacted, the chief denied the suspect was tortured by his palace guards but justified his traditional authority to resolve communal disputes, including misdemeanours that have been brought to his attention.

He, however, admitted that the suspect was given a slap by one of his men because he was speaking falsehoods despite “clear evidence” of guilt.

“I told the boy that ‘if you think you are hard and don’t want to talk true, I will let someone slap you’. I tell him to tell the truth, this boy refused, so I let someone slapped him,” Naa Simong said.

“So when they slapped him then I commanded that they should go and find cane and come and that I want them to lash him on the table. So that time, he said it’s true, that he sold the thing nine hundred million (old cedis)”.

The chief said his palace would fairly pursue the matter to its logical conclusions to ensure justice.

“The one who brought the case to me is still interested in the case so I want him to come and I will tell him what the defendant came and told me”.

Naa Simong further told Starr News, per his understanding, chiefs are also mandated to resolve cases of “stealing, killing and murder case” if only they are brought before them and that he did no wrong by trying to settle this gold theft matter.

Kwame Anane

Kwame Anane