The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has observed that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is dazed by the arrest and conviction of Nayele Ametefe aka Angel, Ruby Adu-Gyamfi, Ruby Appiah and Irene Tawiah, who carried 12kilos of cocaine in her handbag to the Heathrow Airport in London on November 10 last year. 'The Wednesday, January 14, press conference by Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, General Secretary of the NDC, on the Nayele Ametefe cocaine scandal should be seen by all objective Ghanaians as a desperate attempt to escape the hard questions that government must answer in connection with this scandal,' NPP Communications Director Nana Akomea said in a statement.
The NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia aka General Mosquito, had told journalists at a press conference in Accra that it was under the NPP's administration that the convict was introduced to cocaine.
According to him, the NPP must be held responsible for Nayele's act which led to the Isleworth Crown Court in the UK handing down an eight-year eight-month sentence to the 32-year-old lady.
But in a sharp rebuttal, NPP deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahen, questioned if Asiedu Nketia was suffering from any mental sickness because his reasoning and choice of words were quite nonsensical.
'No one whose mother carried him or her for a nine-month period will reason like him [Asiedu Nketia]. His level of thinking is shocking and strange. His choice of words is senseless and baseless. Did he suffer from any head injury when he was a baby? His level of mediocrity is outstanding,' Nana Obiri Boahen charged.
'I weep for this country with the crop of leaders we have. Asiedu Nketia as a General Secretary is unfortunate. I think it will be better if we are ruled by colonial masters than the NDC and their General Secretary,' he added.
Ruby and her gang of drug smugglers indeed used the highly restricted Very, Very Important Personality (VVIP) section of the KIA reserved for the president and his top ministers to board flight BA078 to London on November 9.
False Claims According to Nana Akomea, the NDC general secretary made false claims against the NPP but despite his desperation, still left many questions unanswered.
He said Mr Asiedu Nketiah had said the NPP had posted pictures of a known NDC lady and tagged her as Nayele Ametefe, but Nana Akomea said categorically that the NPP did not have anything to do with those pictures.
'The NPP did no such thing. We also saw pictures on the social media. We have nothing to do with those pictures. Aseidu Nketia's confusion is shown by his statement that 'Ms Ruby Adu-Gyamfi of NDC swiftly responded with a press conference.' We hasten to add that the name Ruby Adu-Gyamfi is one of the known aliases of Nayele Ametefe, who at that material time was in custody in Britain and could not have been responding to the NPP with a press conference.'
Nana Akomea said Asiedu Nketiah's claim that the NPP had said Nayele travelled with a diplomatic passport was false, saying, 'Nowhere in the NPP's 7 th January statement did we make this claim. Indeed, we also read the claims from the media, including the Austrian newspaper's online.'
He said it was also untenable for the NDC chief scribe to hold that the NPP had said Nayele travelled through the VVIP lounge at the Kotoka International airport, saying, 'Indeed, the Attorney General's charge sheet against some individuals arrested in connection with this matter stated 'VVIP' and testimony from one Alhaji Dawud who had been arrested, also indicated that Nayele travelled through the VVIP.'
Diplomatic Vehicle The NPP communications director said there was nowhere in the party's statement linking staff of the Ghana High Commission in London to the scandal. 'We had asked if it was a mere coincidence that a diplomatic car was at the tarmac at the airport to pick someone at the time of Nayele Ametefe's arrest on the aircraft.'
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the diplomatic car from the Ghana High Commission in London left without picking anybody after Ruby had been nabbed.
There was earlier suggestion from the government that the vehicle was there to pick some military officers but went empty without picking anyone, raising suspicion that the vehicle left because Ruby was arrested in the plane.
3 NPP Women & Amoateng 'Asiedu Nketiah pathetically recites the allegation that three NPP women from Dzorwulu, Accra, were arrested with cocaine in 2002. That allegation was made by an NDC newspaper and it has not been proven up till today,' he asserted, adding, 'The pathetic allegations continue with the arrest and conviction of former NPP MP for Nkoranza North, Eric Amoateng. Amoateng's salary was rightly paid until he was convicted. The NDC's General Secretary should know that an accused person on trial is not the same as a convicted person.'
Nana Akomea said that the claim that Amoateng passed through VIP at the Kotoka Airport 'neglects the fact that as a Member of Parliament, Eric Amoateng was entitled to use the VIP,' adding, 'The records also do not show that Amoateng carried cocaine through the Kotoka International Airport.
The person who was heard on national radio calling for a warm reception for Amoateng on his return was the NDC DCE for Nkoranza North.'
De-Confiscation & Wikileaks He said Mr Asiedu Nketia 'brazenly accuses the NPP of de-confiscation of properties of convicted drug barons. It would have been helpful to the nation if the NDC General Secretary had mentioned the names of the drug barons whose properties were de-confiscated.'
He said the NDC man again made references to wikileaks allegations but 'conveniently' forgot wikileaks allegations about President Mills' remarks on complicity of members of his own government in using the VVIP for narcotic business.
'The NDC General Secretary's claims that the NPP did not pass any legislation against narcotics is another lie. Over three hundred (300) narcotic cases had not been prosecuted before 2001 because the suspects, upon bail, simply ran away from the country. The NPP amended (the law) legislation to make narcotics a non-bailable offence, and that made Ghana an unattractive destination for narcotics.'
'It will be of interest to Asiedu Nketiah and the NDC that the NPP, in collaboration with the British, introduced Operation Westbridge, which led to successful arrests of narcotic traffickers at the Kotoka Airport. Asiedu Nketia's attempt to link Nayele Ametefe's cocaine smuggling to a supposed NPP fundraising event in London is at best pathetic and desperate.'
Posers The NPP said Ghanaians are interested in finding out from the NDC government how Nayele Ametefe was able to access the VVIP/ Presidential Transit lounge at KIA, carry undetected, 12.5kg of cocaine in her hand luggage through a highly restricted area.
He said the party will press for answers for what gave the drug baroness confidence that 'she would be able to go through the Heathrow Airport with 12.5kg of cocaine in her hand luggage'
'Why was she arrested on the aircraft and not allowed to disembark? Did the British authorities not believe that she will go through the airport? Is it coincidence that there was a Ghanaian diplomatic car on the tarmac to pick someone and thus not go through the airport?' the NPP queried.
Nana Akomea said the party would like to know why 'the seeming confusion among organs of government such as NACOB, over collaboration, and the Attorney General and Ministry of Communications on whether she used the VVIP or not and why the government has shown no interest in uncovering the names of Nayele Ametefe's powerful backers in Ghana.'
By William Yaw Owusu