Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi, former Minister for Local Government and Rural Development in the NDC Government yesterday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that one of their members, Mr. Christian Appiagyei, was one of the spies working for the United States of America (USA), as contained in the list provided by that government during the infamous spy exchange deal.
This list, he stated was the only evidence the PNDC regime had about Ghanaian spies working for the American Government.
Mr. Ahwoi was at the Commission to tell his story in reaction to Major Awuakye's presentation in which he levelled human rights abuses against his person by the spy prisoner exchange. Kwamina Ahwoi who had all the other Ahwois and ET Mensah present in solidarity during his narration, stated that Major Awuakye, a retired Ordinance Officer in the Ghana Army was part of a number of spies working against Ghana, which information he said was provided by the US when an intelligence operation went wrong. No Ghanaian Was Denaturalised — Ahwoi Mr Kwamena Ahwoi has denied that the eight Ghanaians who were exchanged for Mr Michael Soussoudis in 1985 were de-naturalised.He also stated that Major John K. Awuakye (retd) , one of those exchanged for Mr Soussoudis, was the happiest of all those affected as the Major saw it as a gateway out of his predicament in the army.
Testifying before the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) in Accra yesterday, Mr Ahwoi, who is currently Director of Research of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), said it was the Government of the United States of America (USA), which submitted the names of persons it described as assets of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and requested for their evacuation to the US.
Mr Ahwoi was the former Co-ordinator of Revenue Commissioners Investigations and Tribunals in the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). He made it clear that until the US Government submitted the list, the PNDC did not know those persons were agents of the CIA.
Prior to the exchange, he said, those who were listed by the US Government were interviewed to find out if it was true they were CIA agents and whether they wanted to leave for the US.“Mr chairman, Major Awuakye denied being an agent of the CIA, but expressed his willingness to be evacuated to the US. The government interpreted the responses of all those who wanted to go as indeed agents of the CIA,” he stated.
He said the whole problem started when Mr Soussoudis, a cousin of former President Rawlings, befriended one Sharon, secretary to the head of the CIA in Ghana. He said in the course of the relationship, the lady mentioned the names of certain Ghanaian CIA agents to Mr Soussoudis.
Witness said the lady was recalled to the US for interrogation and under a lie detector, she disclosed to her superior officers all the information she had passed on to Mr Soussoudis.He said Sharon later called Mr Soussoudis that she had been reposted to Nicaragua and invited him to the US for discussions as to how she could still be of help to Ghana.
He said Mr Soussoudis was, however, arrested as soon as he landed in the US.Mr Ahwoi said after the arrest, the then US Ambassador, Mr Robert Fritz, contacted Justice D. F. Annan and told him that the US Government was willing to negotiate with the PNDC government.He indicated that the Ambassador indicated that they had a list of other CIA assets they wanted to evacuate to the US and asked the government to allow two planes from the US to land at Tamale to evacuate them, their families and other relatives.
The ambassador presented a list but later substituted it with another one and the second list contained about 30 to 40 Ghanaians including Mr Christian Appiah Agyei, a member of the commission.He said intelligent officers scrutinised the list before those affected were invited for questioning at the CID Headquarters where he had put up an office to interrogate them.
Mr Ahwoi said some of those contacted including Mr Atteh Allotey, currently with the National Security Council declined the offer, claiming they were not spies. He said at the time the relationship between the two countries was not cordial so they agreed that the assets would be escorted to Togo to be evacuated from there.
Mr Ahwoi stated that before the commencement of the whole exercise, an agreement to that effect was then signed between the US Ambassador and Mr Obed Asamoah, who was the Foreign Minister, nominated by the government to oversee the implementation of the agreement.
He said Mr Allan Ceeroy, an official from the US Embassy, was present throughout the questioning and the entire process was video-taped and given to the BNI. He said they made it clear to the eight persons who consented to go that they would not return to the country until the government of Ghana consented to their return.
He said he invited Major Awuakye to the CID headquarters and informed him about the list and explained everything to him and he was excited because, according to him that would be the end of his predicament.“My lord, Major Awuakye voluntarily agreed to go to the US and he was never de-naturalised as he claimed when he appeared before the commission,” he said.
Witness said some of those affected used to come on visits during the PNDC era and wondered how Major Awuakye could have said that they were de-naturalised and not allowed to come back.He also denied a statement by Major Awuakye that he was told that his safety could not be guaranteed, stressing that “Mr Allotey, currently serving in a high position with the National Security, did not leave the country but nothing happened to him”.