Ghana suffered international collateral damage in 2014, when one of her citizens, Nayele Ametepe, was arrested at the Heathrow Airport in London for carrying 12 kilogrammes of cocaine on a flight that originated from the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra. The narcotic drug, according to evidence adduced in court, had a purity of 78% and a street value of £1.872 million.
Available information provided by the government at the time indicated that the lady drug baron used the VVIP section of the airport, when she was not qualified to use the facility. This privilege enabled her to travel with the drug without any detection in Ghana until she arrived at Heathrow Airport. Though Nayele Ametepe was jailed eight years after pleading guilty to the crime, and has since been released for conducting herself well in prison, the battered image of Ghana cannot be restored.
With this unfortunate incident at the back of our minds, one would have expected that the National Security officials at the Kotoka International Airport will be careful with the sort of people they allow to use the VIP facility, but the opposite seems to be the case. The VIP Lounge is reserved for top government officials and Members of Parliament, but people who are not qualified are allowed to use the facility with impunity.
Appearing before the Justice Emile Short Commission on Monday, this week, Bright Ernest Akomea, popularly known as Double, a National Security operative at the VIP Lounge of the KIA, was bold enough to disclose that he assisted a relative of an MP to use the facility. When Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a Member of the commission, told him that he had broken the law, he was again bold to admit his guilt.
Since the said MP was not at the commission to confirm or deny the claim Double made against him, The Chronicle is treating it as a mere allegation. It is only further investigations that would unravel the truth or otherwise. The allegation has, nevertheless, exposed the weakness in our security operation system. If an MP can place a simple call to the security officer manning an important facility like the VIP, and his relative is allowed access to the facility, it means anyone carrying drugs can easily influence him to also have access.
Bright Ernest Akomea may not be aware, but the person he is assisting may be carrying drugs. We must give thanks to God that Ghana is not on the radar of any terrorist group. Otherwise, it would have been easier for it to influence some of our security personnel to wreck havoc on the country. Nayele Ametepe was neither a government nor state official, yet she was able to bribe her way through the VIP Lounge, and the end result was the disgrace she unleashed on us as a country.
The security men who allowed her access to the Lounge thought they were assisting a beautiful dame, but, at the end of the day, she was caught in a foreign land carrying drugs from Ghana. This tells us a story that under no circumstances should our security personnel manning important places like the KIA trust people who would approach them to use facilities they are not qualified to use.
The decision taken by Double to allow the MP’s relative to use the facility, if it turns out to be true, is a breach of his own rules of engagement and he must, accordingly, be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to other security men who may be contemplating of doing same in future.