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General News | Jun 8, 2004

Prisoners Escape, Corruption Rocks Ankaful Prisons.

Chronicle

Investigations into the alleged escape of some prison inmates of the Ankaful Prison Complex have revealed that about 16 inmates escaped last August, on account of the misuse of the inmates by top prison officers.

The incident had been swept under the carpet since it occured but the ubiquitous Chronicle has gathered that twelve escaped from the Annex and the rest fled from the Main Camp.

The Ankaful Prison Complex is made of three branches: Main Camp, the Annex and the Contagious Disease Camp (CDC). The prison has about 1,200 inmates.

Four warders are facing the displinary committee in connection with the escapees in the Main Camp.

The cover up was due to the fact that, the inmates of the prison complex were not supposed to be hired to prospective customers because it is located in a farming vicinity, therefore inmates were restricted to work on prison farms.

On the contrary, some top officers have taken advantange of the obscure location of the prison to hire out inmates to individuals and pocket the money.

It was on one of such trips that 12 inmates escaped last August. The matter had not been reported to the headquarters in Accra.

Reports say about 200 inmates are being hired to individuals everyday on the government - approved labour fee of ยข4,000.00 per each prisoner which pertained in other prisons all over the country. Instead of paying income generated from this business into government chest, a few officers squander it.

Some officers who were unhappy about these malpractices , alerted The Chronicle to intensify its investigations.

It was learnt also that about 30 officers had allocated to themselves, four inmates each, who did not only clean their bungalows but were hired out as well for the private pocket of the officer. Meanwhile, government paid cleaning allowances every quarter of the year. This behaviour of the officers breached the prisons service regulation that entreated any officer who wanted to engage the services of an inmate to pay half the approved labour fees.

It is only the regional commander who has the privilege to select inmates to clean his bungalow everyday.

These officers claimed they used such monies to buy fuel. But it is learnt from reliable sources that the government issued coupons to that effect. The whole prison complex has only one KIA vehicle, which is nothing to write home about and a tractor that is used to plough the farmland.

Corruption is extended to the purchase of firewood also. Firewood is used to cook for the inmates. Government provides money for that but obviously, these officials spend it otherwise and deploy the inmates to various sawmills to work free for firewood.

Besides, it was reported that money realised from the construction service they undertook with Kwamina Walker, a Cape Coast - based contractor has found its way into individual pockets. Even the duty ration for junior warders has not been spared.

Proper records on the activities of the inmates are not kept, which gives room for nefarious activities.

When The Chronicle checked on him last Wednesday at the prison complex, the Regional Commander, Mr Eric Nordor said he could not comment on the matter concerning the escapees because he was not the officer - in - charge when the incident occurred.

Beside, he had assumed responsibility in only February this year, not to gloss over the fact that he was not supposed to talk to the Press.

He said however that money realised from hiring of the inmates was being paid to the government chest.

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