On the fateful night of January 6, 2005, when President Gnassingbe Eyadema's plane hit the tarmac of the Kotoka International Airport to attend President Kufuor's inauguration, one of his most wanted men who now enjoys international immunity was clandestinely arrested by the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and dumped in cells for close to a week.
This morning, the BNI and the Director of Immigration are expected to produce the body of the man, Julien Ayayi, a security wizard and a hardcore opponent of Eyadema's regime but intelligence picked up by The Chronicle indicates that he has been quietly deported by the BNI and the Immigration Service to Liberia ahead of the court appearance today.
A writ of Habeas Corpus issued against the Director of BNI and the Ghana Immigration Service and signed by Justice Yaw Apawu, a High Court judge on January 13, 2005 ordered the two heads to produce Julien Ayayi in court today.
“It is hereby ordered that a writ of Habeas Corpus ad subjiciendum be issued against the Director, Immigration Services and then the Director, BNI to produce the body of the appellant in this court on Tuesday 18, January 2005 to show cause why the applicant must not be granted his freedom” the writ ordered.
“The respondents (Directors BNI and Immigration Service)” the writ ordered, “must issue a written statement indicating why the applicant is being held and whether it will not be appropriate to grant his freedom.”
On the same day, the writ was dispatched and Samuel Djanetey, a Grade One court bailiff attached to the Accra Fast Track Court swore an oath and stated that he had duly served both the Director of Ghana Immigration Service and the Director of the BNI.
Yesterday afternoon, Chronicle spoke to Mr. Ayayi via phone from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia where he narrated his ordeal in Ghana. Ayayi bears a Liberian Diplomatic passport, which he said, was issued by to him under the Charles Taylor government and renewed by the interim government of Liberia The Togolese opposition man told The Chronicle that he was whisked away from BNI cells on January 14, 2005, around 3 am and dumped in a small room at the airport till 8 am when he was forced on a Belview flight to Liberia without any clothing, money and personal belongings.
“Initially when they picked me, they told me that we were going to the Immigration Service, later I heard them saying on the phone that they were sending me to the airport so I begged them to send me to the Hotel to pick my belongings but they refused.” Ayayi said yesterday.
When Chronicle contacted the Deputy Director of Operations-Immigration Service, Mr. Ansu Gyeabour, he knew about the deportation of Ayayi but told the Chronicle that he did not know the details of the circumstances surrounding the deportation..
“Please talk to the Director first, I don't know the details,” Mr. Gyeabour said. When Chronicle called her office, there was no response from his phone around 3pm.
Attempts to reach the BNI director by press time yesterday failed. The Chronicle could not obtain any indication from the courts that the BNI had made a case of arms trafficking against Ayayi even though arms trafficking is a criminal offence Ayayi also said he was not made to write a statement on what he terms as a bogus frame up.
So far, two reasons assigned to the arrest of Mr. Ayayi, who claims he left Togo and forgot about Eyadema since 1986 said he now concentrates on environmental work in Liberia such as afforestation.
The other side has it that Mr. Ayayi was arrested because the security apparatus wanted to dump him quietly into President Eyadema's plane for onward transmission to Togo.
“You see, they wanted to secretly handover Mr. Ayayi to Eyadema like a lamb to take to Togo because Eyadema hates him,” a sympathizer of Ayayi in Ghana told The Chronicle.
According to Ayayi himself, the BNI refused to tell him the reason behind his arrest but later told his lawyer that he was arrested because they suspected that he was involved in arms trafficking from Burkina Faso to Ivory Coast.
“The BNI told me that my movement was very suspicious and that I was traveling too much so I told my lawyers that if that was the case, then we should go to court,” Ayayi told The Chronicle via phone from Monrovia yesterday.
He added that he had been hinted by his intelligence that the BNI would swoop on him at his hotel (Top Hotel in Dzorwulu) and that he was told also that some men had been detailed to crash his car on his way to Ho in the Volta region and then come up with a story that they were armed robbers.
“They wanted to kill me on my way to Ho. You see, my daughter who is Ghanaian was dead and that day was supposed to be the day of her burial but I did not go because I was hinted about this plan,” Ayayi said.
Apparently, Ayayi has kids with a Ghanaian and his eldest daughter in Ghana is between 21-23 years old.
AYAYI VS. EYADEMA When Chronicle asked Ayayi why he was still in exile and why Eyadema was not comfortable with him, he replied that “Eyadema is not comfortable with anybody who wants peace and I myself too I am not comfortable with him.”
Ayayi was a member of the 'Movement of 23 September 1986', which was accused of attempting to overthrow Eyadema.