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21.03.2005 General News

Allegation Of Extortion False, As ....

Allegation Of Extortion False, As ....

... Government team Investigates Government .. Investigators NEVER interviewed Publisher A government team sent to Kosovo to investigate an alleged extortion of Ghanaian police officers on peacekeeping duties has found the allegation to be false. It had been alleged the officers were illegally levied 500 euros to have their duty period extended. The allegations, first posted on the Internet (GhanaHomePage) and carried in sections of the media, said the Minister of the Interior and the Inspector General of Police were behind the extortion. The allegations were made in 2002 when the current Defence Minister, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, was the acting Minister of the Interior and he was quizzed about it recently when he was being vetted by the Appointments Committee as the President's norminee for the position of the Minister of Defence. Following the allegation, a team led by the Research Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducted extensive investigations into the allegation. According to a report of the investigations, one person from the research office in Ghana and four from its missions in Europe conducted the investigations. According to the report, 110 members of the Ghanaian contingent in Kosovo were interrogated to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the allegation. The investigators also trailed the service of the information that was posted on the website and other issues that might have arisen out of it. The report said senior members of the Ghanaian contingent in Kosovo were interviewed and statements taken from them. According to the report, the allegation of extortion was found to be false and without substance as all the members of the contingent denied any knowledge of it. The investigations revealed however that contingent members were unhappy about an alleged increase in the development fee to $1,000 and a refund of $300 described as per diem. It said some Ghanaian contingent members were engaged in illegal trafficking of human beings for fees not below $300. According to the report, the committee recommended that the situation on the ground required that the request for the extension of the duty tour of the 84 groups in Kosovo should be approved as a sign of non-victimization of the Police administration. It also recommended the repatriation of three suspects in connection with the allegation. Meanwhile, the Police Council has agreed that the three contingent members who were suspected for posting the report on the website should be repatriated without delay. The council has also agreed that the Inspector-General of Police should approve the extension applied for.

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