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21.06.2004 General News

Ahwoi testifies at NRC, cancels intended press conference

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Accra, June 21, GNA - Mr Kwamena Ahwoi, Research Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on Monday testified at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) and stated that about 350 people were to be sent to the United States in the Michael Soussousidis affair in 1985. He said nobody was denaturalised, and Major Awuakye, who had alleged in evidence before the Commission that he had extradited him, had rather been grateful for the exit.

Major Awuakye had told the Commission that Mr Ahwoi had accused him of being a spy of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and had consequently extradited him along with others in 1985.

Mr Ahwoi, then Co-ordinator of the Revenue Commissioners, Investigations and Tribunals in the erstwhile government of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), was reacting to the evidence of Major Awuakye at a public hearing of the NRC in Accra. Mr Ahwoi, who was cross-examined by his is legal team Bram and S.A Vanderpuije denied any extradition allegations and explained that Major Awuakye had agreed voluntarily to offer himself in the incident. Mr Ahwoi said, following the Michael Soussosudis spying affair in the United States (USA), the US Government listed a number of people, who were CIA agents and assets and demanded that they should be swapped for Michael Soussoudis.

Mr Ahwoi said the total number of the people, and their families, who were to have been sent to the US numbered about 350, and that, based on intelligence analysis, a number of them were left out without appearing before the body set up at the CID Headquarters for interrogations. Mr Ahwoi said that the names on the list included Mr Christian Appiagyei, now a Member of the NRC, but Mr Appiagyei was not invited for interrogations.

He said Mr Atteh Allotey, a top security person and one Mr Abel Adusei were also invited, and Mr Adusei even challenged his link with the CIA in court.

Witness said Major Awuakye, who then was worried over his discharge from the Military, denied that he was a CIA spy and asset, but voluntarily accepted to be offered for the exchange with the conditions attached, including any visit to be made possible only if it were approved by his home government.

Mr Ahwoi said they interpreted the action of those who accepted to go as really CIA spies and assets adding, " I don't know of any evidence we could have used to prosecute them in a Ghanaian court."

He said if the US, which he described as a 'bastion of democracy" was negotiating an exchange then the US might, have "something more of judicial limits "if the negotiations were rejected.

He said the Government negotiated the exchange but rejected its responsibility for the exit of the four, who chose to go to the US, and added that he did not know if Major Awuakye's passport was seized. Mr Ahwoi said at nowhere was pressure put on the Major during the negotiations, and said Major Awuakye's was not made to sign any document for his consent to be exchanged, but was on video and audio tapes. Witness said the tapes might be with the Bureau of National Investigations.

Mr Ahwoi said the failure of the US Soussoudis Affairs, had been rated as the 12th most serious intelligence failure in the history of the CIA, and that 12 million dollars were spent on that investigation.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahwoi, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said he had called off his intended press conference because the Commission did not in any way try to stop him in his evidence, adding that it even gave him the opportunity to add anything he wished to say.

He, however, said he was not the happiest of men because his evidence had breached a mutual agreement on the confidentiality between the two countries on the issue, stating that he had been pushed to the corner to speak.

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