Fresh from the bungled operation with Ms. Mariama Tula whom the National Security officials tried to fraudulently transform into "Mrs. Amoako" for the purpose of getting her a UK visa in order to buy her silence over the Sulemana Jeremiah US$2,500 visa fraud deal in which Vice President Aliu Mahama was mentioned, National Security Coordinator Francis Poku has been exposed again in a botched attempt to implicate the Ghanaian opposition in a fake Liberian mercenary recruitment exercise.
According to the usually reliable 'Ghana Palaver' intelligence sources within Mr. Francis Poku's National Security apparatus, the soon-to-be-redeployed national security capo tried one of his antiquated, colonial-style ex-Special Branch operations as a pre-emptive move to whatever intelligence the NDC has gathered in relation to the recruitment and training of Liberian mercenaries in Ghana by a former Ghanaian military officer who uses the code name "Alpha Bravo", a top operative in the National Security apparatus, who used to work for former Liberian warlord and later President, Charles Taylor when his NPFL was a rebel army.
According to our sources, the intelligence agencies panicked when Professor Mills at his July 1, 2004 Press Conference disclosed that the NDC was investigating reports that foreign nationals, mostly rebel soldiers from war-torn West African countries were being trained in secret camps in some parts of the country for sinister purposes.
A decision was therefore taken to make a pre-emptive move in a bid to turn the tables on the NDC, and the Liberian advertisement was the outcome.
The advertisement, taken by one "Femi Oduah", obviously an alias, was reproduced with relish as a report and largely circulated by Nana Akufo-Addo's 'Statesman' and other pro-NPP newspapers last week, originally without any indication that it was a paid for advertisement.
According to the advertisement, Ghana's opposition leaders were massively recruiting mercenaries in the Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal and Guinea to lead an attack on Ghana by August 20 or certainly before the general elections, and that already, two retired Ghanaian military officers including Kojo Jikata (obviously a deliberately mis-spelt name) had been travelling in Ivory Coast, Conakry and Dakar.
The advertisement also stated that there was impeccable information that President Wade of Senegal was actively supporting the opposition in their recruitment of mercenaries and also that Charles Taylor's insurgency against former President Samuel Doe of Liberia was waged with the patronage of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Libya.
Our source was emphatic that the advertisement in the Liberian 'Analyst' newspaper was actually taken to the offices of the newspaper and paid for by the intelligence officer in the Ghana Embassy in Monrovia.
Realising the security implications of the advertisement, the Managing Editor of the 'Analyst', Stanley Seakor, contacted the Ghana Ambassador in Liberia, Mr. Kwame Amoa-Awua, known to President Rawlings in the NDC days as "Tsombe", for comment and advice.
In a publication in the 'Analyst' subsequent to the advertisement, Managing Editor Seakor wrote as follows:
"Mr. Seakor contacted Ambassador Kwami Amoa-Awua who, having expressed interest in the issue, requested a hardcopy of the supplement.
Shortly after that we gave the hardcopy to the Ambassador's emissary who took it and returned it half an hour later, to our astonishment, without comment or advice", Mr. Seakor said.
According to him, the return of the hardcopy of the advertisement without comment or advice suggested to the paper's advertisement department that it was safe to run it".
Our sources have also revealed that a follow-up action in Ghana over the weekend to raid the homes of ex-President J. J. Rawlings, Captain Kojo Tsikata, Professor Atta-Mills and General Arnold Quainoo last Friday night, using the advertisement as the pretext, was aborted because the two live interviews that the Managing Editor of the 'Analyst' Mr. Seakor, gave to Joy FM and Radio Gold completely destroyed the credibility of the contents of the advertisement.
Besides, attempts by the security agencies to plant arms and ammunition in the homes of these former NDC office holders, which were to be "discovered" during the searches, had not been successful.
In a related development, 'Ghana Palaver' has learnt that the Governments of La Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal have launched investigations into the source of the advertisement in the 'Analyst' newspaper because of the allegation contained in it that President Wade of Senegal was in support of the Ghanaian opposition in their so-called plot to invade the country.
This is another intelligence "faux pas" that is likely to have serious diplomatic, security and intelligence fall-outs.
Meanwhile, 'Ghana Palaver' has been informed that the 'Analyst' was to publish an apology to the Ghanaian opposition in its issue of yesterday.