A Belgian National, Shalimar Abbiusi, has been arrested and slapped with the charge of obtaining a student permit by false declaration.
Ms. Abbiusi gained public attention when she put out a video claiming to be the Spokesperson of the “New Force” movement.
This declaration came in the wake of the mounting of billboards in parts of the country with a masked image and the inscription the “New Force”.
The 30 year old was arrested when she was invited by the Head of National Enforcement Section at the Ghana Immigration Headquarters.
The Investigators were probing her Immigration status in the country when their attention was drawn to her video.
The Investigations revealed that she first came to Ghana in September, 2017, and has since been a regular visitor until 2018 when she became a resident.
Sources say she claimed to have been admitted as a student of the Ghana Christian University College. Checks from the College are said to have however, revealed that she has never been a student at that institution. Investigators add that the documents she used to secure her residential status were thus, forged.
Investigations have since been expanded to unravel issues surrounding the New Force Political group.
Ms. Abbiusi has meanwhile, denied the charge against her and was granted bail by the Kaneshie District Court, but is yet to be released. Sources close to her say her home was also searched by investigators while she remains in the custody of the National Investigations Bureau.
Meanwhile, the New Force has expressed deep concern over the arrest and detention of Ms. Shalimar Abbiusi, one of its spokespersons.
A press release issued in Accra dated December 7, 2023 said Ms. Abbiusi, who is the spokesperson for the New Force’s diaspora and diplomatic engagements, was called in for a discussion on Monday, 4th December 2023 and never released thereafter.
“As we have now found out, for the past 4 days, Ms Abbiusi has been kept continuously in custody by the officers of the National Investigations Bureau, formerly the BNI. During these 4 days, the security officials have continuously questioned Ms Abbiusi about the New Force; wanting to know which people are behind it and if the people want to run for President.
Further, over this period, she has been denied access to legal representation, subjected to an unlawful search of her premises, and held beyond the legal 48-hour limit without formal charges,” excerpts from the release read.
It further noted that, “despite the objections of Ms Abbiusi’s lawyers, her apartment was broken into without a warrant and the place ransacked. Yet not a single element of incriminating evidence was found against her. While the authorities claim to be investigating the origin of The New Force, it is essential to emphasize that having a political organization is not a criminal offense. As such the arbitrary detention of Ms. Abbiusi raises serious concerns about the abuse of power, persecution of perceived political opponents and several human rights violations.”
According to the New Force, “Despite the fact that Ms Abbiussi’s residence permit was facilitated and issued to her over three years ago by the Ghana Immigration Service, the authorities today told a District Court that they have temporarily charged her with an offence claiming that one of the documents she submitted could not be verified. But that they are demanding that she is held in custody so that investigations into the New Force will continue.”
The group lamented what it called “rising attacks” against the New Force, including the taking down and targeted destruction of several billboards of the New Force.
“Ms Abbiusi’s arrest clearly marks an attempt by the Government to abuse our laws and its power in order to persecute political opponents. We deplore the attempts to use Ms Abbiusi’s immigration status to blackmail her. We consider that no person should be discriminated against on account of their political opinions or country of origin, as guaranteed by our Constitution. These actions are morally and legally wrong and undermine faith in our democracy as well as the independence and fairness of our political institutions.”
The group therefore encouraged Ghanaians to be vigilant and engaged in preserving the integrity of the country’s democracy.
“We ask you to demand for a different kind of politics. That is the promise of the New Force. The international community is closely monitoring these developments, emphasizing the need for a swift and just resolution.”