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30.10.2007 General News

Police can't account for exhibits in their custody

By The Ghanaian Times
Police can't account for exhibits in their custody

A number of Police Stations in Accra failed to account for exhibits valued at many millions of cedis in their custody, according to the Auditor-General's Report.

A review of the exhibits revealed that the Lost, Stolen and Recovery Property (LSRP) and Cash Exhibits (CE) registers were not produced for inspection in some cases. In addition, some of the exhibits were not kept at the police stations and also officers on transfer did not properly hand over to their superiors.

The affected police stations were named as Madina, Adabraka, Odorkor, Mamprobi, Kaneshie and Korle-Bu.

The items include money in Ghanaian and foreign currencies, colour televisions, wax prints, cars and bicycles.

The rest were welding machines, mobile phones and medical equipment.
These were among the 26 queries raised against the Ghana Police Service when it came under scrutiny at the sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Monday October 29, 2007.

The Committee has, therefore, ordered the service to, take measures to recover the items and report back to it by November 15.

The Inspector General of Police, Patrick Acheampong, who appeared before the Committee with the Minister of the Interior, Kwamena Bartels, explained that most of the police stations did not have exhibit stores.

He said instructions had been issued for the exhibits to be kept at the police stations but added that "logistics are not there".

"It is not a situation that we desire, we don't have the logistics to back our orders," he added.

The Auditor General's Report recommended that in order to improve control over exhibits, they should be kept at the police station under proper custody and not with the case officers.

It also recommended that the LSRP and CE registers should be properly maintained and reviewed periodically by superior officers.

However, an appeal by Mr Bartels for parliament to enhance the budget of the service to help address some of the inadequacies was rebuffed by Kwadwo Tawiah Lakpalimor (NDC Kpandai) “Mr Chairman do we need budgetary support to recover an Astra Car exhibit from the police?" he asked.

The Dunkwa-on-Offin District Police Administration was queried for its refusal to carry out a court order to destroy three mini bags of cannabis given as far back as 2001.

The effect of the Police's non-compliance, the report noted, had created congestion in the exhibit rooms.

In a related development exhibits worth ¢150 million made up of cash, an SMG riffle, four shotguns, a tape recorder, and a sewing machine left in the custody of J.A. Milebor, officer in charge of Ho Police exhibit store also got lost.

However, Mr Acheampong said the exhibits had been recovered and the matter resolved.

Some of the queries raised included the exorbitant cost of oxygen purchased by the service from Air Liquide, payment made to third parties without authority notes and over payment for the supply of newspapers from the New Times Corporation.

At the time of filing the report the Committee was still hearing responses from the service before the turn of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry was expected to respond to 13 queries. The Committee was expected to wind up its public hearings Monday October 29, 2007.

Source: The Ghanaian Times