The accused were arrested in Akaporiso, a suburb of Obuasi in the Ashanti region on Friday, April 11, forty-six (46) in all, for engaging in a wedding party at a time that all forms of public gatherings had been banned in the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana.
They have been charged with, “failure to comply with restriction: contrary to section 1 (1) of the imposition of restrictions coronavirus disease (covid-19) pandemic (no.2) instruction, 2020 (E.I65) and section 6 of the imposition of restrictions act, 2020 (act 1012) restriction act 2020 (act 1012)”.
It was reported earlier that, the 35 year old Ayraquah had said the ceremony was necessitated by his longing for a wife and not meant to disobey the directives of the President.
Police prosecutor In-charge of Courts – Adansi Division, ASP Kwabena Oduro Boateng told the media that charges against six persons were dropped after preliminary investigations, leaving forty to face prosecution.
“Thirty six appeared before the court today and all of them pleaded NOT guilty so they have been remanded into police custody to reappear on May 6; four did not show up so we have a bench warrant for their arrest and we will immediately put them before court when we get them”, he said.
Police say as a measure to ensure social distancing, the 36 would be separated and kept at different cells at Akrokerri, Akrofrom, Dompoase and Obuasi, because no one facility in the Obuasi Division can house such a number in a time like this.
The Obuasi District Police Commander, DSP Martin Asenso who led the swoop said the couple and the revellers had flouted the President’s directive on mass gatherings and the preventive measures for stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“We are unable to keep them in our cells because of their number; so we have taken their statements and we are going to charge them to appear before court on Tuesday”, DSP Asenso told the media.
A family source has revealed in a conversation that, the bride is 3 months pregnant, so “they had to get wedded quickly in order to escape the wrath of their church elders”.
Obuasi is one of the first towns to record a confirmed case of coronavirus in Ghana; our reporters say the level compliance with social distancing and other health protocols by residents still leaves much to be desired.