To Paul Tawiah Quaye, IGP: Re-do your image first
By I. K. Gyasi
Dear Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, Inspector-General of Police, I greet you in the name of Almighty God.
Mr. IGP, thanks to television, I saw and heard you the other day, addressing your men and women in the Upper East. I also heard you announce your intention to refurbish the image of the Ghana Police Service.
Yes, the Ghana Police Service can do with a lot of image re-furbishing. There are too many incidents of police lawlessness, intimidation and assault, as well as the widely-speculated cases of extortion from all kinds of people: drivers, suspects wanting bail, etc.
But, Mr. IGP, it is my respectful submission that before you try to bring your men and women into line, you could start the cleansing exercise with yourself first, and your senior officers working under you. Let me state a few examples.
You, no doubt, remember the case of the Deputy Minister for the Interior, Mr. Kobby Acheampong, phoning to tell you about the alleged rude behaviour of some of your policemen towards him. What did you do when you had the report?
You quickly ordered the arrest of the policemen allegedly involved in the alleged rude conduct and their instant transportation to Accra. I wonder whether the Regional Police Commander was informed.
No matter. What I want to know from you, Sir, is what has happened to the case? Were your men guilty of the offence of gross disrespect to the Deputy Minister? Was the Deputy Minister rather guilty of provocation through a show of political and deputy Ministerial power?
Mr. IGP, do you not think that after the great public interest generated by the report of the alleged incident, with the Police Public Affairs Officer telling us how policemen and police women should behave, we are entitled to know what happened? Are you covering up for the Deputy Minister or for your men?
And talking of the conduct of policemen and policewomen, what is this I hear about Mrs. Gifty Mawuenyega-Tehoda, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), the currently interdicted Deputy Head of the Commercial Crime Unit of the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID), facing Police Service Enquiry?
Mr. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, a Law Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), has already told an interviewer on JOY FM radio that though Mrs. Mawuenyega-Tehoda is currently facing trail, there is nothing wrong with a simultaneous police service enquiry.
While I defer to his knowledge as a lawyer (I am not a lawyer), I still find the whole handling of the woman’s case as strange, to put it mildly.
It will be recalled that when the Committee of Inquiry appointed by the Chief Justice pointed an accusing finger at Mrs. Mawuenyega-Tehoda, as being involved in the case in which bicarbonate of soda was alleged to have been substituted for cocaine, the Police Service was angry.
At a televised press conference well attended by police personnel, the Director-General of the Police CID, DCOP Prosper K. Agblor, combatively rejected the accusation, as if it was the CID, or even the whole Police Service that was under that cloud of suspicion. Indeed, Commissioner Agblor also bellicosely rejected the findings of an investigation of the matter by the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI).
Interestingly, Mr. IGP, you looked on while the BNI infringed upon the rights of Mrs. Mawuenyega-Tehoda when that body detained her for more than 48 hours without taking her to court. Why did you keep quiet when the CID thought she was innocent?
Another interesting aspect of the case is that, initially, the wrong charge was brought against her, and the prosecutors had to be laughed out of court, because the offence did not exist. Now, I hear that she is facing a charge of abetting and undertaking an activity without lawful authority.
I have neither the authority nor the inclination to comment on the court action. Still, I cannot help, but express surprise, that the same Police Service that protested so vehemently now cannot wait for the courts to decide on the guilt or innocence of the woman, but must subject her to “two slaps”, namely police service enquiry and a court trial. And to think that it has taken you and your Police Service almost six months before instituting a police service enquiry while she is still under interdiction!!!
Mr. IGP, to some of us, Superintendent Kwasi Ofori worked with slavish loyalty as the Police Public Affairs Officer, when you mysteriously and unceremoniously yanked him from that position, and transferred him to the Tafo-Pankrono Division of the Ghana Police Service in Kumasi. Of course, you will say that you did not owe anyone an explanation. Good.
During the recent biometric voter registration exercise, Mr. Ofori placed a bounty of GH¢2,000 (Two thousand Ghana cedis) on the head of someone, he (Mr. Ofori) suspected to be a thug disrupting the exercise.
At a press conference, Mr. Joseph Yamin, Secretary of the Ashanti Regional branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), claimed that the alleged thug was rather one of the NDC people monitoring the exercise.
Mr. Yamin also accused Mr. Ofori of being in league with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and, consequently, was unwelcome in the region.
Not long after that, you and your police administration openly humiliated Mr. Ofori by publicly reprimanding him and distancing yourself from the action he took.
You have followed that up by removing him from Kumasi and putting him in the just-created vacancy of Head of the Community Police.
At least, this time, there was a kind of explanation, as your acting Police Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Cephas Arthur, heaped encomiums on Mr. Ofori as very qualified for the new post.
Mr. IGP, let me tell you that there are those who “smell an NDC” in the removal of Mr. Ofori from the Ashanti Region. Of course, once again, you will say that you do not owe anyone an explanation.
Mr. IGP, your own very efficient police forensic experts have reportedly proved beyond reasonable doubt that the gun was fired from inside the car of Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, the then Minister of Health who later became the Minister for the Interior, and is now the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General.
Mr. IGP, who owns the gun? Was it registered at the time of the firing, and in whose name was it registered? Who fired it from inside the car and why? Whom have you questioned in connection with what is speculated to be a faked assassination? Or was there an attempt to shoot somebody? Have you had the courage to interrogate Dr. Kunbuor, or is he too big for you?
Mr. IGP, I am sure that your men and women will follow and obey you if you can demonstrate that you do not fear anybody in the discharge of your duties as the Top Policeman.
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