Radio Ghana, the state-owned public broadcaster last Tuesday reported that “a source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration” had intimated to the station (Radio Ghana) that the number of the diplomatic passport reportedly found on Raymond Amankwah at the time of his arrest in Brazil in 2007, is (was) FAKE!
According to the news item broadcast at 1.00pm by Radio Ghana on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration also indicated that it was investigating the circumstances under which a drug baron, Raymond Amankwah who had been jailed 14 years in Brazil allegedly acquired a Ghanaian diplomatic passport.
The state-owned Daily Grahpic had earlier on Monday, February 13, 2012 reported on its frontpage that “The Federal Police Department of Brazil had ESTABLISHED that a notorious Ghanaian drug baron, Raymond Kwame Amankwah, who is serving 14 year-prison term at the Provisional Detention Centre at Caucaia in Brazil for drug trafficking, WAS HOLDING A DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT ISSUED BY THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA”.
“A report released by the Brazilian Police said at the time of his arrest, Amankwah, was holding passport number D1878450, a diplomatic passport”, stated the Daily Graphic report authored by its Presidential (Castle) correspondent, Timothy Gobah.
However, according to the state-broadcaster, Radio Ghana, “A SOURCE AT THE MINISTRY TOLD RADIO GHANA THAT THE NUMBER IS FAKE. IT SAID CHECKS REVEALED THAT THE MINISTRY HAS NOT ISSUED ANY DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT WITH THE NUMBER QUOTED ON IT”, and added that the Ministry had initiated investigations into “The matter with presentations to Ghana’s Embassy in Brazil on the matter”.
Readers would recall that the February 13, 2012 Daily Graphic frontpage news item was seized upon by a host of ‘government communicators’, ‘ruling party propagandists’ and ‘NDC-media affiliates’ including Felix Kwakye Ofusu, Kobby Fiagbe, David Tamakloe and Peter Boamah Otukonor, as ‘propaganda ammunition’ against NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo who they accused of having issued the diplomatic passport while he was Ghana’s Foreign Minister.
The Editor-in-Chief of The New Crusading GUIDE, Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako was also not spared by these Government Communicators and ‘ruling party (NDC) propagandists’ and sections of the pro-NDC media, as he (Baako) was attacked for allegedly seeking to cover-up the ‘crimes’ of Nana Akufo Addo. Felix Kwakye Ofosu challenged Baako to prove the innocence of Nana Akufo Addo, instead of allegedly seeking to undermine the integrity of the state-owned Daily Graphic.
The attacks on Baako were occasioned by The New Crusading GUIDE’s re-production of a May 19, 2008 Graphic story on Raymond Amankwah’s arrest in Brazil which had a ‘striking resemblance’ to the February 13, 2012 story filed by the same Daily Graphic except in a critical detail of the status or nature of the passport Raymond Amankwah was allegedly carrying at the time of his arrest in Brazil in 2007.
While the May 19, 2008 story said Raymond Amankwah was carrying an ordinary Ghanaian passport with No: H1878450, the February 13, 2012 story said he (Amankwah) was holding a diplomatic passport with No: D1878450; the difference being in only the initial alphabet, and yet the source of the information for both stories was the Brazilian Authorities who had arrested, prosecuted and convicted Raymond Amankwah.
And it must be noted that the Daily Graphic in its February 13, 2012 story, made no effort to alert its readers of the ‘error’, if indeed it was an ‘error’, contained in its May 19, 2008 story; thus creating the impression that the recent story was an entirely new one; based on a new information from the Brazilian Authorities.
The first story filed on May 19, 2008 was authored by Albert K. Salia, one of Daily Graphic’s regular ‘crime stories’ writer while the second one, the February 13, 2012 story was filed by the paper’s Presidential (Castle) correspondent, Timothy Gobah.
The Daily Graphic itself is yet to respond to the ‘publicized queries’ raised by a section of the public relative to the similarities of the two stories and the striking difference in the passport numbers as re-collected above, but not surprisingly some Government Communicators and ‘ruling party propagandists’ like Felix Kwakye Ofosu and Peter Otukonor have publicly rallied to the defence of the Daily Graphic while at the same time accusing Nana Akufo Addo and the erstwhile NPP administration(s) of involvement in the promotion and growth of the narcotics trade in the country.
In another development, a highly-placed official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration who spoke to our roving scouts on condition of strict anonymity, expressed surprise at the Daily Graphic’s decision to file the February 13, 2012 story without double-checking the authenticity or otherwise of the number or status of the passport Amankwah was allegedly holding at the time of his arrest by the Brazilian Authorities which the latter had allegedly “established” as “a Diplomatic Passport issued by the Republic of Ghana”, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration before publishing the story.
“The Brazilian Authorities could not on their own, unilaterally establish that the passport Amankwah was holding at the time of his arrest was indeed an authentic diplomatic passport, genuinely and officially issued by the Republic of Ghana. They necessarily had to contact our embassy in Brazil or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana, for verification and authentication to support their claim. This is because we have had instances of people faking our diplomatic passports, or even stealing them for illegal use and purposes. Somebody may be holding a passport, a red coloured one, purporting to be a diplomatic passport, but it may not have been validly issued by the relevant authorities. That would make that passport invalid, illegal and fake”, emphasised the Senior MFA official.
Source: Monitoring Desk/New Crusading Guide/Ghana
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