The news is alarming: “A one million pounds tax-payer-funded anti-traffic campaign to stem the flow of cocaine into the UK, through Ghana’s busiest airport is beset with corruption, with drugs police sabotaging expensive British-bought scanning equipment, and tipping off smugglers.”
According to leaked US cable information circulated by WikiLeaks, President John Evans Atta Mills is worried that his own entourage on international outings could be smuggling drugs through the Presidential Lounge at the Kotoka International Airport.
Since the leaks made the headlines, there have been frantic attempts by officialdom to discredit the information without any attempts to verify its authenticity. Narcotics Control Board Executive Secretary Yaw Akrasi-Sarpong was on an Accra FM station denying the substance of the story, and threatening never to share intelligence on narcotics with foreign institutions.
The Chronicle is not amused by official attempts to wish the problem away, without any attempt at investigating the matter. We sympathise with the Atta Mills regime for the embarrassment the leaks might have caused. It goes to buttress the point that narcotic problems are serious matters of national concern.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) played dirty politics with narcotic issues in the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections. Officials of the party, including people serving as ministers of state at the moment, went public in their attempt to slam their main rivals with the underworld narcotic trade.
At a point in time, party agents went around the country labeling the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a narcotic party. None of them had any evidence though. Yet, they mounted platforms and lied through their teeth that the party in government at the time, and its leadership, were neck deep in drugs.
Quite recently, the dirty campaign on drugs re-surfaced with the NDC press going on overdrive, with allegations that they cannot prove. Now, there is a genuine cause for the President to own up. What does he know about narcotic dealings by his close associates to warrant demanding that a scanner be installed at the Presidential Longue at the Kotoka International Airport? Will he or won’t he name names?
The Chronicle is nursing the feeling that there is a genuine case for full scale investigations into the WikiLeads cable leaks. The other day, the Head of Information at the United States Embassy in Accra, Mr. Ben East, was clear and loud on air, criticising the way and manner the classified information had been leaked. He did not complain about the authenticity of the leaked information though.
We are of the view that a thorough investigation would put everybody’s mind at rest, and re-assure the international community that when President John Evans Atta Mills promised to rid Ghana of dealings in hard drugs, he could be trusted to deliver.
The track record of this administration, in holding itself up to promises made by officials, is nothing to write home about. Perhaps, the Atta Mills Government would use the WikiLeaks Cable allegations on drug dealings to make Ghanaians begin to have faith in its promises.