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17.08.2005 Regional News

Check activities of impostor "chiefs" - Nene Keke

By GNA

Ada Foah (G/R), Aug. 17, GNA- Nene Keke, the third, Asafoatse of Ada traditional Area has called on authorities to be vigilant to ensure that criminals who posed as chiefs did not take advantage of the reverence accorded the institution.

He said information had it that some criminals were using the institution as a guise to smuggle narcotic drugs abroad, thus exploiting the chieftaincy institution to the detriment of genuine traditional rulers.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day seminar on the UN's Trans National Organised Crime Conventions at Ada Foah in the Dangme East District of the Greater Accra Region Nene Keke said: "Criminals have found their way into chieftaincy. They travel abroad like chiefs in full regalia but are trafficking drugs. They have to be stopped before our noble institution is brought into disrepute."

"When you see some of us and give us the honour we deserve, scrutinise that honour to make sure such persons are genuine", Nene Keke said.

Trans national crimes include drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking and arms trafficking.

The workshop is being organised by the Ministry of Interior and the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and being financed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Nene Keke said while the security agencies were hard on the trails of criminals, they had devised "respectable means of outwitting them", thus becoming an embarrassment to real traditional rulers. He said those impostors were normally arrested at the entry points of other countries.

"The enemy you want is the one you are giving the chance to pass", he said, referring to those who use the guise of respectable institutions like chieftaincy to outwit them at the country's departure points.

He said it was time the security agencies took a rigid stance on the respect they accorded practitioners of respectable institutions to ensure that impostors were apprehended to improve the image of the country abroad.

Nene Keke said the estuary of the Volta River and the Atlantic Ocean was a natural entry point, which could be exploited by people with devious objectives.

He urged government to regard that particular area as an entry point to the country and thus secure the place accordingly to check the activities of criminals. The traditional ruler noted that the nature of the area, coupled with the recreational facilities like the resorts and chalets around the island made it a hide out for people with criminal intent, some of them acting as holiday makers.

"Some people come here on the pretext of vacationing or holiday-making but have other motives", he said, citing the drug heist by the law enforcement agencies last year where the criminals jumped into the sea and ferried through the estuary to the water-front villa of a member of the cartel.

He appealed to the Ministry of the Interior to make available speedboats to patrol the estuary to forestall such occurrences. Participants at the workshop were drawn from the Judiciary, Security agencies and relevant organisations.

It was aimed at sensitising and refreshing stakeholders who matter in combating crime to understand what the convention stood for and what was expected of each of the institutions in the area of co-ordination and support for one another.

It is also aimed at deepening their understanding of legal regimes on drugs, money laundering, arms and human trafficking as well as seek suggestions on the improvement to the laws to make them more forceful in dealing with these crimes.

The workshop sought to underscore the importance of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies in combating organised crime in Ghana and the tools to enable them achieve results as well as understand the dimension, nature and character of the problem of organised crime.

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