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21.11.2006 General News

Kufuor Gives IGP The All Clear

By STATESMAN
Kufuor Gives IGP The All Clear
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The Statesman can disclose that against months of speculation over his removal from office as head of the Ghana Police Service, Patrick Kwarteng has been given the all clear and continues to enjoy the confidence of the Presidency.

His position as the Inspector General of the Police became shaky when the committee set up by the Interior Minister to investigate over two tonnes of missing cocaine and other cocaine related matters, accused him of effectively bringing the name of the police into disrepute.

The imminent announcement on the fate of the IGP should quell what has been described by the Interior Minister as unhealthy jostling for a position that was not even known to be vacant at the top of the Police Service. The apparent delay in deciding the IGP's fate was said to have affected morale and the integrity of the hierarchy in the police.

Our information is that Joe Ghartey, the Attorney-General, and Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, a renowned law professor, have both recommended to President John Agyekum Kufuor that they find nothing in the Justice Georgina Wood Committee's work to warrant adverse findings against the IGP. The President, we are told, has accordingly instructed Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Interior Minister, to inform the IGP that his job is safe.

The decision of President John Agyekum Kufuor was based on the preponderance of support for the IGP from various experts who studied the Georgina Wood report. The Police Council recently issued their own opinion on the Committee's report and criticised the findings that the IGP erred in meeting up with Grace Asibi and maintaining acquaintance with Issah Abaas, a suspected crime lord. The IGP denies any knowledge of Alhaji Issah's alleged criminal background.

Before the Police Council's reaction, six former IGPs in October dismissed the Georgina Wood Committee's findings against the current IGP, which hinged a lot on Mr Acheampong granting audience to the girlfriend of a suspected drug baron on the run, a lady who also happened to be a treasured police informant.

Some serving police chiefs – including the Deputy IGP in charge of Administration, Elizabeth Mills-Robertson; the Commissioner of Police in charge of Services, Yaw Adu Gyimah; and Commissioner of Police in charge of Strategic Direction and Monitoring, Paul Quaye – had also expressed their unhappiness with the adverse findings on their boss, which they described as unfair and ignorant of the dynamics of police work.

The Georgina Wood Committee stated: “While the IGP has every right to make friends, the committee finds that his status requires that he chooses his friends with care in order not to compromise the high office of IGP.

“The IGP cannot claim ignorance of the law that empowers the law enforcement agencies to impound assets suspected to have been acquired from the drug trade. “The Committee finds that to grant audience to Grace Asibi Asibrele, whose boyfriend was under police investigations for such a serious offence, and direct her on the options opened to her, has the tendency of leading to wrong perceptions and bringing the high office of IGP and that of the Ghana Police Service into disrepute.”

“There is nothing wrong with the IGP granting audience and spelling out options available to anybody who feels aggrieved by actions of the police,” the media reported this as being the sentiment carried in a document presented last month to the Interior Minister by the former IGPs.

The six former IGPs are BSK Kwakye, Kwaku Kyei, CO Lamptey, RK Kugblenu, CK Dewornu and Peter Nanfuri.

Shortly after her boyfriend, the fugitive Gerardo Vasquez, was linked to more than half a ton of cocaine seized in a house at East Legon, Accra, Ms Asibi reportedly went to the IGP's residence. After Justice Georgina Wood presented her committee's report, Mr Kan-Dapaah told the press that he was referring the findings on the IGP to the government for considered action to be taken.

The Justice Georgina Wood Committee was inaugurated on July 4, 2006 to investigate the missing cocaine on board the MV Benjamin vessel, bribery allegations levelled against some senior police officers in the East Legon cocaine haul, and other narcotic-related issues.

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