The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare met the committee probing the leaked audio containing information on an alleged plot to remove him from office, on Tuesday September 12, 2023.
The persons alleged to have been part of the conspiracy to oust the IGP are three senior police officers; COP George Alex Mensah, Superintendent George Lysander Asare, Superintendent Emmanuel Eric Gyebi and a politician, Chief Bugri Naabu, former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The committee was constituted by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin after the MP for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Kofi Armah-Buah, had reported the content of the tape to the House.
Per the directive of the Speaker, the terms of reference of the committee are; ascertain the authenticity of the leaked audio recording, investigate the conspiracy to remove the current IGP, investigate any other matter contained in the audio recording, recommend sanctions to persons found culpable where appropriate, make recommendations for reforms where necessary and make such other recommendations and consequential orders as the committee might deem appropriate.
As expected, members of the committee took turns to ask Dr Dampare questions relating to the allegations made by his accusers. Dr Dampare patiently and tactfully answered all the questions, a few of which got him choked with emotions that could have resulted in tears.
From all indications, it was a fruitful meeting. Some socio-political analysts have remarked that Dr. Dampare emerged stronger from the hearing than he went in there.
Like every important meeting, key issues dominate. Here are seven takeaways from the IGP’s date with the committee chaired by Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea:
- I did not play any role in recording leaked audio
One of the allegations made against the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr George Akuffo Dampare by COP Mensah is that he has intelligence that the recording of the conversation between them and Chief Bugri was masterminded by the former.
But when he appeared before the committee, Dr Dampare refuted the allegation.
According to him, “I played no role in the recording of the tape.”
True or false? Time will tell.
- Bugri Naabu has no contractual dealings with the Police Service
“I have Alhaji Bugri Naabu on tape, everything he came to say here, on video in his office. His relationship with IGP and contracts, 40,000 boots contract,” is how Supt. Asare impugned the integrity of Dr Dampare when he had the opportunity to interact with the committee.
He said it with so much vim that any viewer of that session believed him. Indeed, a video that shows Chief Bugri in discussing his shares in a contract with some persons went viral, subsequently.
When he got the opportunity, the Inspector General of Police flatly denied the claim.
“He (Bugri Naabu) has no dealings, and I hear some contracts. He has nothing,” the IGP stressed.
But the prevarication he made before answering the question has raised questions in some enquiring minds.
Question: Has the IGP ever been to your office?
Answer: Not that I know of.
- I was not part of decision to interdict or de-interdict the witnesses
On Thursday, September 7, 2023, the Ghana Police Service announced the interdiction of the three officers alleged to have been involved in the plot to remove the IGP.
Few hours later that decision, per another public announcement, was ‘suspended.’
The Police in a statement dated September 7, indicated that the decision to suspend the interdiction of the three police officers was to ensure it does not affect the ongoing probe by Parliament.
The Police added that the Service would commence disciplinary proceedings into the officers’ conduct when the parliamentary probe is completed. This raised eyebrows with some pointing to Dr Dampare as being responsible for that faux pas.
But the Inspector General of Police says that is farther from the truth. According to him, he recused himself from the meeting of the Police Council during which that decision was taken.
“I was not part of any decision to interdict or de-interdict the witnesses. I recused myself. I was not part of the decision taken by the Police Council” Dr. Dampare said.
- Decision to manage information flow to the public is strategic
In recent times, some members of the general public and media practitioners have complained about the unwillingness of Police Public Relations Officers to grant interviews on emerging issues.
Attempts to seek clarification on arrest of criminals are met with could shoulders by Public Relations Officers (PROs) of the Service. It was therefore intriguing that the IGP’s detractors mentioned this issue when they met the committee.
This, Dr Dampare did not deny.
“It is a strategy we agreed on in accordance with international best practice. To avoid a situation where everybody from national to district is speaking on an issue without the facts and when the facts come out it is contrary. It is a decision that all commanders were involved in taking. All the Public Relations Officer were part of the decision to adopt this approach,” he explained.
It sounds sound. Or?
- This is just not fair
Tough and smart as he sounded in the course of his interaction with the parliamentary committee, Dr Dampare’s humanness came to light.
At a point, he was drawn to near tears as he could not fathom why his colleagues would stab him in the back. It took the consolation of his lawyer, Kwame Gyan, through back-patting to get him recomposed.
“This is just not fair…They made wild allegations against me without a shred of evidence. Those allegations have brought pain to me, my family and to my command. I have been working hard to transform the Service and we will be called to come and answer allegations that are unfounded. Anyway, I am here. I have no choice. I have no choice and I have come. And for the respect I have for the institutions of state. . .and more importantly the respect I have for the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” he said in an emotional tone.
Hm! When you pray, you may want to spare a thought for our leaders.
- I am not holding people’s promotions
In the Public Service, promotion is the lifeblood of especially junior workers. That’s because aside the increase in one’s grade/rank/position, it comes with extra cash.
It is therefore tantamount to denying one oxygen to breath if his or her promotion is not granted when due. Among the litany of allegations that his accusers have levelled against Dr Dampare, is one that says morale among personnel of the Service is low because junior officers have been denied their promotions.
The IGP’s response to this claim turned out to be the longest. An indication that he did not take it lightly, at all.
“There is no holdup of promotion of any junior officer in the whole Police Service. Even as we speak, the structure has been that any junior officer who is four years is sent to training and they’re promoted and we’re waiting to have all of them promoted.
“Those who are due, the next set of junior officers who are due for promotion – we have worked on trying to rebuild their capacity, and to send them to Akyerematen in the Eastern Region to reshape and recalibrate them. They are currently there and we are rolling out things and making sure that they’re promoted in December.
“And we’ve arranged it in such a way that it becomes something like a Christmas tour. So, nobody in the Service’s promotion (sic) is being withheld by the Service. So that is another concocted story that is being put out there for mischievous reasons,” the IGP explained.
Welcome news. Isn’t it?
- If I am the worst, then we are collectively worst
Of all the answers that Dr Dampare gave to questions posed to him by members of the committee, one that drew the loudest laughter was the on in respect of he being the worst IGP in history.
The one who made that assertion was COP Mensah. And he said it in the strongest of terms,
“Honourable member and honourable chair… what I said yesterday if you give me the opportunity today, I will say it again. For me, for the 31 years I have been in the service, he is the worst IGP ever.”
If the retiring Director-General of Operations for the Ghana Police Service says his boss is the worst ever, every right-thinking person would take him very seriously. But Dr Dampare’s reaction to this assertion burst the bubble.
“By the grace of God and the honour done me by His Excellency the President, Nana Akufo-Addo Addo, we committed ourselves to transforming the organization to become the best institution in the country and a reference point for Africa and beyond in a team work fashion based on Genesis 1:26.
So even granted that I am the worst, then all collectively are the worst, including my brother (COP Alex Mensah) who was serving in that capacity as member of the team that I lead.
Perhaps my brother wanted to say I’m the best IGP but missed it. The records are there for everyone to see. It is not true my administration is the worst. He missed it. It can never be true that my administration is the worst.
It’s unfounded and it is baseless. I think the best the person could have done if he had nothing to say is to keep quiet,” he stated in a calm tone.
Well, these are just seven of the takeaways from yesterday’s session. Evidently, the dust is settled on many of the issues raised by COP Mensah et al or so it seems.
As we await the details of the in camera hearings, whether through leaked sources or official, one thing is clear, your detractors may seek to distract you, but they will succeed if you don’t remain focused.
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