General

Gov’t using backdoor tactic to whitewash DSP Azugu & Co

On the blind side of the public, government appears to be playing a fast one on unsuspecting Ghanaians, as it tries to use the role of National Security in the rescue of the two Canadian girls, to redeem the battered image of their officials, who were implicated in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election Presidential Commission report.

Indeed, pictures have gone viral on social media by the gun-wielding National Security team dressed in the same uniform they wore in the Ayawaso by-election violence with some of the suspects smilingly, posing as though they were taken a family picture for an album.

While many have said the team acted unprofessionally in posing for pictures with the suspects, others have observed that the pictures, were deliberately taken to attract praise for the group and the Akufo-Addo government for that matter.

So far, two ministers, including Bryan Acheapong, have credited the arrest to the men behind the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election gun violence, insisting that but for them, the two ladies, would not have been rescued.

They separately downplayed the role of any other institution in the Tuesday’s arrests in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

Interestingly, Bryan Acheampong Minister of State at National Security, who was also implicated in the Emile Short Commission Report, yesterday on Citi FM, continued praising and attributing the rescue of the Canadian ladies and the arrest of the suspects to the singular effort of the National Security SWAT team led by DSP Samuel KojoAzugu.

He also mentioned the Director of Operation, Michael K. Opoku, one Adu-Boahen and others, as those who led the rescued operation.

He said, his outfit had received several information from other parts of the country on kidnappings which they are following on.

He insisted that the Canadians team which were in Ghana, did not play any role in the rescue exercise.

Earlier, government through the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on breaking the news, speedily indicated that the rescue team was made up of only Ghanaians and further debunked earlier reports that the Ghanaians collaborated with their Canadian counterparts.

The Ofoase-Ayeribi Member of Parliament (MP) at a press conference, additionally singled out National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, Director of Operation, Michael K. Opoku and Commander of the National Security SWAT team, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Kojo Azugu, for praise for being instrumental in the operation which lasted 25 minutes.

DSP Azugu, was at the Press Conference held at the Ministry of Information, smiling at the mention of his name.

“I want to say particular thanks to honourable Kan Dapaah, National Security minister… DSP Azugu, Colonel Opoku, who is not here, we want to say thank you to you, thank you to the SWAT team for the kind of work you have been putting up, thank you”, he said.

Interestingly, these are the same officials, who were implicated in the still hidden Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election commission report.

Months after the Emile Short led Presidential Commission, presented its findings to President Akufo-Addo on March 14, 2019, nothing has been heard from the President.

Recommendation of the report, which have been in the media space, reveals how the likes of DSP Azugu and Colonel Opoku, failed in their duty to ensure an incident-free by-election ending in brutalities and the near amputation of a footballer’s leg, after they unleashed on voters, gun-wielding militia group, clothed as National Security operatives.

The report recommended that DSP Azugu, who was the Commander of the SWAT team, be removed “from commanding responsibility”.

Further, the Commission recommended that, Colonel Mike Opoku, be reprimanded “for being ultimately responsible for the outcome of the SWAT operation at the La Bawaleshie School Polling Station”.

His liability was further reinforced by his failure to properly define the mission for which the SWAT team was sent and ensuring that the SWAT team complied with defined mission.

It was further recommended that Col. Opoku be made to immediately release the weapon used for, well as the personal (SIC) involved in, the operation to enable ballistic testing and analysis to be undertaken and for further investigation by the Police

But four months after the Commission presented its findings, government is yet to act on the report except that it has now found it convenient to use the same officials for operation and praising them for some role they specifically played which the public is unaware of.

In fact, government has served notice it would not be coerced to release the report just because people are asking for it.

Speaking to the media, Mr Nkrumah, rejected the demand stating the report would be released at the right time.

“I don’t think that we were second-guessing the constitution of the Republic. The constitution of the Republic is clear that when you have a commission of enquiry, you have up to six months to make a determination—a. Whether the report will be made public and if so you publish it and the white paper that goes along with it or—b. If the report contains something for which reason it cannot be made public, the president is required to issue a statement explaining why it cannot be made public,” Oppong Nkrumah told Starr News.

“This is just about what… three months after the commission’s report was submitted, so it will be strange for anybody who knows the law, knows the constitution and is very familiar to it [then] all of a sudden feign ignorance about what the constitution says. I think it is quite clear and we don’t need to be labour that point unless somebody just wants to do some mischief with it,” he added.

“I don’t think that we were second-guessing the constitution of the Republic.

The Constitution of the Republic is clear that when you have a commission of enquiry, you have up to six months to make a determination—a. Whether the report will be made public and if so you publish it and the white paper that goes along with it or—b. If the report contains something for which reason it cannot be made public, the president is required to issue a statement explaining why it cannot be made public,” Oppong Nkrumah.

Director of Communication at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, also reportedly said “The President has not issued a white paper on the recommendations of the Short commission which was submitted about a month ago. The President is still studying the report”.

Mr Arhin went on to say “As I said the there are two options the constitution give the president any time a report of such nature is brought to him. Either he publishes the report and alongside a white paper or if he decides not to publish the report, he puts out a statement on why the report is not to be published and the constitutions give him six months to do so.

The President will not be stampeded into making any decisions now, he has to satisfy himself first, and the decisions he wants to take and once,” he said that decisions are taking we will let Ghanaians know what that decision is,” he said.

But while Ghanaians wait for the release of the report and the subsequent implementation of the recommendations, government is now applauding the operatives, as if to prepare the way to exonerate them from any wrongdoing.

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