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A Bird within the corridors of National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) at the ‘Blue House’ (Castle Annex) has whispered into our ears that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has completed its re-investigations into...

...the substitution of twelve (12) cocaine slabs with twelve (12) corn dough slabs and the theft of Box No.46 containing thirty (30) slabs of cocaine which occurred at the Police CID Headquarters on January 28, 2008.

The Report, this paper gathered, is being fine-tuned and will soon be submitted to President J.E.A. Mills who announced the re-investigations during his State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday, February 17, 2011.

“In the wake of recent startling revelations about the unacceptable extent to which Ghana was used as a major link in the drug trade; I have decided that a full scale investigation into the disappearance of cocaine from the Police Vault as well as the 77 parcels of cocaine which entered Ghana’s territorial waters aboard the MV Benjamin vessel and mysteriously got missing should be reopened”, articulated the President.

While acknowledging that administrative enquiries were conducted into both cases in the past, the President said “the twist however is that the missing cocaine was not found and the culprits were not identified”.

“With a Presidential Commission of Enquiry, we hope to be able to do both. We will not relent in our fight against the narcotics trade and I believe that the majority of Ghanaians are happy not to be waking up to daily stories of cocaine here, cocaine there, cocaine everywhere. We will continue to make Ghana an unattractive destination for the narcotics trade and will collaborate fully with cross-border and other foreign operatives to flush out the drug barons and their couriers”, emphasised the President amidst prolonged applause from members of the Majority in Parliament.

Our Castle Annex source (the whispering bird) explained that the idea of using a Presidential Commission of Enquiry as initially projected by the President as the vehicle to re-open investigations, was abandoned and instead the BNI asked to take charge of the re-investigations.

Earlier on, the Police which began the process of re-opening, indicated that for the avoidance of perceived conflict of interest challenges, an ‘independent agency’ like the BNI should be the preferred vehicle to conduct the re-investigations.

Our source was however not ready to divulge the contents; the findings and recommendations of the BNI Report to our roving scouts, contending that the President, upon receipt of the Report, will cause its contents to be made public as was recently done with the Interim BNI Report on the cocaine turned washing soda investigations.

The substitution of 12 slabs of cocaine with 12 slabs of corn dough and the theft of one whole box (No. 46) containing 30 slabs of cocaine from the Exhibits Room at the 6th floor of the Police CID Headquarters, in January 2008 were subjected to an investigation by the Kojo Armah Committee instituted by the then Minister of Interior, Mr. Kwamena Bartels.

The substitution of the 12 slabs of cocaine with 12 slabs of corn dough and the theft of one box of 30 slabs of cocaine was detected on January 28, 2008 after the re-testing of the whole consignment of the Prampram cocaine haul by the Ghana Standards Board. The re-testing was done upon the request of Mr. Frank Adu-Poku, who had then been appointed the new Head of the CID. The Ghana Standards Board had earlier conducted tests on the Prampram consignment of sixty-seven (67) sacks of cocaine between the 10th of July and 8th October, 2006. They (67 sacks) had all proved to be cocaine. The sixty-seven (67) sacks were therefore re-packaged into sixty-seven cardboard cartons and stored in the Exhibits Room.

The Kojo Armah Committee was set up on February 1, 2008 with its terms of reference being: “find out the extent of the substitution; find out who and who were involved; recommend next actions and recommend steps to ensure we avoid repetition”.

The Kojo Armah Committee commenced sitting on 5th February, 2008 and submitted its report on 24th April, 2008 to the Minister of Interior. The Committee interviewed 44 witnesses including the following: Mr. Patrick Acheampong, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), DCOP David Asante-Appeatu, former Director-General, CID, DCOP Frank Adu-Poku, former Director-General, CID, C/Supt. Adu Amankwah, Ex-Head, Organised Crime Unit, DSP Patrick Akagbo, Ex-Head, Violent Crimes Unit, and C/Insp. Paul Brenya Bediako, Investigator.

The Kojo Armah Committee concluded in Chapter 9 of its report that it was unable to find anyone directly liable for the substitution of the twelve (12) cocaine slabs and the theft of Box No.46 containing thirty (30) slabs of cocaine.

However, it (Kojo Armah Committee) was able to identify the following combinations and methods which could have assisted and/or facilitated the theft of the cocaine from the Exhibits Room of the Police namely: “1: Use of the keys (to the Exhibits Room); 2: Use of the apron at the back of the Exhibit store; 3: By the Workers engaged to fix reinforcement (of the Exhibits Room); 4: At the time the Venezuelan cocaine was being carted out for destruction (from the Exhibits Room); 5: The possible taking advantage of frequent electricity outages of the time; and 6: The possible tampering with the CCTV facility”.

The Kojo Armah Committee was also able to identify and expose serious lapses within the hierarchy of the Police Service in the handling of the investigations by the Organised Crime Unit, which tended to seriously undermine the successful investigation of that case, and which it (Kojo Armah Committee) noted, if not promptly corrected, might affect any future investigations of similar or other serious cases.

The Kojo Armah Committee recommended that a Service Enquiry be instituted into the conduct of some identified Police Personnel and also a proper criminal investigation should continue of DSP Akagbo and all other persons mentioned in the Report.

In reaction to the Kojo Armah Committee’s Report, the Police Administration also instituted an internal enquiry on May 7, 2008, chaired by Mr. P.N. Cobbina (COP Rtd) and having as members, COP/Mrs. Joana Osei-Poku and ACP Mr. D.J. Avorgah.

The Police Internal Enquiry known as the Cobbina Committee was tasked to examine pages 84-87 of the Panel’s Report (Kojo Armah Committee’s Report); to conduct further investigations into the allegations contained in the report; to evaluate the comments emanating from the final report; to advise the Police Administration on the recommendations by the Panel and any other evidence which the Committee may discover. The Cobbina Committee submitted its report to the IGP on 26th May, 2008.

In addition to the Cobbina Report, a Memo No.SO/G.4/33A/V.4/ dated 21st May, 2008, emanating from the Headquarters Management and Advisory Board (HEMAB) of the Ghana Police Headquarters, also submitted to the Inspector-General of Police, made a commentary on the Kojo Armah Committee’s findings and recommendations.

Subsequent to these two reactions from within the Police relative to the Kojo Armah Committee’s Report, President Kufuor by a letter dated June 4, 2008, appointed a Presidential Review Committee comprising; Charles Bartels Kwesi Zwennes, Barrister at Law, Chairman, Mrs. Elizabeth Justice Villars, Industrialist, Member and past President, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Ernest Owusu-Poku, former Inspector-General of Police, Member. The Secretary to the Committee was Afia Adueni Adueni, Assistant State Attorney.

The terms of the Presidential Review Committee were as follows: “to review the Kojo Armah Committee Report; to review the reaction of the Ghana Police Service to the Report and to consider any other relevant or related matter”.

The Presidential Review Committee was given two weeks to submit its Report to the President. It had its preliminary deliberation on Friday 13th June, 2008 at the Conference Room of the Old State House, Accra.

The Presidential Review Committee submitted its Report to the President on June 26, 2008. Its Report largely agreed with the findings and recommendations of the Kojo Armah Committee.
Source: Roving Scouts/New Crusading Guide/Ghana

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