Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey Drama unfolded at the first sitting of the Col. Musah Board of Enquiry (BOI) at the Forces Command Headquarters in Burma Camp, when proceedings into the infamous army recruitment saga were halted temporarily.
This followed the appearance of Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, renowned lawyer and former deputy Interior Minister, at the first day's proceedings.
The committee received its first salvo a few hours after it was airborne when Colonel K.D. Damoah, Director of Manpower/Personnel (DMP) and main witness for the day, who was led-in-evidence by Capt. Effah-Dartey, raised serious objections to the composition of the BOI, and also impute mischief to the board.
The duo did not only punch holes into the composition of the board, but also raised serious concerns about some developments in the army, some of which they said, smacked of politics and ethnicity.
At the end of the day, the BOI, which is the military equivalence of a court, had no option than to wind up until further notice.
According to a petition dated 11th January 2009, the witness further noted that the composition flies in the face of both natural justice and Article 33 (5) of the 1992 Constitution.
The strongly-worded petition objected to the inclusion of Lt. Col R.S. Nyaka on the board in the sense that he had allegedly demonstrated malice and bias against Damoah, and thus would not make a fair representation.
The petitioner quoted a series of instances at the barracks to contend that the formation of the BOI was part of the malice and hatred actuated against him, to the extent that discussions were held over how to falsely accuse and sack him from office.
He said sometime ago, Lt. Col Nyaka hinted one Lt. Col. Buntugu of plans to suspend the training of the 2008 First Batch Army Potential Recruits, and that the DMP would then be accused of recruitment malpractices, after which he (DMP) would be removed.
The petition further noted that Nyaka cautioned Buntugu to hands-off the recruitment as it was going to be an exercise in futility.
“The fact that Lt. Col R.S. Nyaka made those statements to Lt. Col. J.H.K. Buntugu and predicted that there would be a BOI (which is in progress) as a prelude to the removal of Col. K. Damoah to pave the way for his (Lt. Col. R.S. Nyaka) appointment as DMP makes Lt. Col. Nyaka an interested party in the case,” it stated.
Col. Damoah again stressed that the wording of the convening order for the enquiry was carefully done to serve a malicious purpose and it smacked of a conspiracy theory.
“Certainly, it is not for nothing that the date 15th January 2009 has featured in the Convening Order of the BOI. Evidence will be led at a later stage of proceedings to prove that the date holds one of the keys to the conspiracy to use a BOI, whose outcome is already predetermined, with all due respect to members, to achieve political and ethnic objectives”.
Faced with these damning evidences, the board had no choice but to temporarily fold up and head back to the drawing board, since by military standards, a BOI is tantamount to a court of law.
It would be recalled that a BOI was officially constituted on 6th February 2009 by the Chief of Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier-General R. Winful, to look into the process of the enrollment of potential recruits, which took place as far back as July 2008, with the intent of getting them replaced.
The composition of the board was: Col. Braimah Musah (Provost Marshal – President), Col. S. Odoi-Gyampo (GHQ MED – member), Lt. Col. R.S. Nyaka (Army HQ – member), Lt. Col. T. Ampofo-Gyekye (Defence Intelligence – members), and Lt. Col. R. Adwini (GHQ Education – member/secretary).
As its terms of reference, the board was expected to among other things determine whether proper procedures were followed in the selection, whether the bids for the various services, corps and units were met, whether regional balance was satisfied, and whether the list of 420 potential recruits was infiltrated by unqualified persons.
Some concerned soldiers who called the paper's offices recently were alarmed that the political and ethnic neutrality of the military was being compromised.
Some of them opined that the army had gone back to the days of victimization and kangaroo courts.
By Bennett Akuaku