Former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has revealed that Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr George Akuffo Dampare, was handpicked for the position on grounds of proven loyalty to this government.
According to him, impending vacancies in the office of the IGP always generate “lobbying and scheming” within the high echelons of the Police Administration. He indicated that this has been so for promotions to positions when the vacancy is limited by numbers.
Mr Amidu stated that he was a member of the Ghana Police Council from 1989 to 2001 and knows how intense these scheming can be, and what stories eligible senior police officers can coin against perceived rivals for the positions.
“I know for a fact that Dr George Akuffo Dampare was handpicked for the position of IGP on grounds of proven loyalty to this government. The discussion for the replacement of his predecessor started long before his predecessor left office… I know as a matter of fact that Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who chairs the Police Council and chaired the Council meeting which formally recommended Dr Dampare’s appointment to the President was a staunch supporter of Dr Dampare, long before the office of IGP became vacant.”Martin Amidu
Justifying his reasons, Mr Amidu explained that he became the Minister for the Interior with additional responsibilities as the Minister for Security and Intelligence. With this, he noted that senior officers of the Ghana Police Service lobbied him as well for appointment to enhanced positions and “only God was witness to what they said about their competing colleagues”.
“Similar scheming and manoeuvres took place before Dr Dampare was preferred over his other contestants some of whom were more senior to him in the Ghana Police Service. Unfortunately, Dr Dampare is fairly young in age and is likely to encumber the position for several more years unless senior police officers scheme for his early removal from office. And what was heard on the leaked tape answers to the usual scheming within the Ghana Police Service.”Martin Amidu
Furthermore, Mr Amidu stated that he is convinced that the recording of the conversation was planned and executed by the host of the office where it took place. He indicated that the decision to leak that taped recording might have been made by his political collaborators who saw it as a perfect tool for the diversion of the opposition political parties from the likelihood of a relaxation of security supervision of the 2024 elections by the Ghana Police Service.
“The recorded tape was leaked knowing very well that the President, Nana Akufo-Addo has confidence in the IGP and would not remove him from office a few months to the 2024 elections…”Martin Amidu
Moreover, the former special prosecutor highlighted that the leakage of the tape recording which sought the removal of the IGP has achieved its objective. This, he revealed, is because, the NDC in particular, other opposition political parties, and security and intelligence operatives have diverted their attention to defending and extolling the virtues and perceived neutrality of the IGP.
“IGPs do not win elections and can scarcely influence the polls. What an IGP can and might do is to position Regional, Divisional, District, and Station Commanders who will control their men at the polls and relax their security alertness and surveillance on election day. Even such a move in a national election is not without hazards for the IGP as some Commanders may give him out to the other side. The Assin North constituency by-election cannot be used as a yardstick for measuring the neutrality of the Ghana Police Service in the coming national elections in 2024.”Martin Amidu
Implication of leaked audio on political parties
Following this, Mr Amidu expressed that the danger the NDC and other opposition political parties are putting themselves in now by concentrating on the “smokescreen” that the President may remove and replace the IGP before the 2024 elections, is that they may take positions generated by the planted tape recording and find themselves unable to walk back their talk when circumstances about the perceived neutrality of the IGP changes, come the period leading to elections 2024.
To this, he stated that the NDC and other opposition political parties ought to make haste slowly in what they say in praise or condemnation of the IGP.
“The leaked recorded tape is not the first time a chairman or former chairman of the NPP has been involved in the leakage of what would have passed for confidential information. The alleged bribery of a chairman of the NPP for the Northern Region with a vehicle and money made the rounds before the 2016 elections…There is also the case of the leaked and denied secret tape recording published in the Daily Graphic on 26 January 2015 which the NDC did not pursue to investigate.”Martin Amidu
Mr Amidu further revealed that, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Mensah,with four months terminal leave to be discharged from the Ghana Police Service, who is heard on the leaked tape, and the other senior officers on video or other platforms scheming against the IGP “are only vocalising a tradition that undermines colleagues in an attempt to be preferred for higher appointment”.
He emphasized that what is worrying listening to the leaked tape is the fact that Mr Mensah, a senior police officer, would lose his guard and speak in the office of a former NPP chairman “unmindful of basic security and intelligence precautions” on such sensitive matters.
“Mr Mensah threw caution to the wind to visit his host in his office and assumed that his host was not capable of recording their conversation. A senior police officer who has served that long and is on terminal leave at the pinnacle of his career should have realized that he was being recorded when his host was being non-committal and using leading interjections to goad him to say more things against his superior, the IGP.”Martin Amidu
Mr Amidu expressed that free and fair elections are the lifeblood of any democracy, and that the leaked recorded tape has achieved the opposite of what it intended by alerting patriotic citizens to the fact that no matter who is IGP, everybody needs to be vigilant to ensure that the 2024 election is not captured by any President’s “long game”.