Officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), have denied claims that the leader of what has become known as the “US$62 Million Turkish Gold Scam”, Peter Kofi Bedzra, died in the cells of the Bureau.
The officers, John Dogba, a deputy BNI director, Pius Awelinga and one other, who gave his name only as Baba and laid claim to the gold scam investigation chose a “very dramatic” style to explain how the late Mr. Bedzra died at the 37 Military Hospital, after a short illness, and not the BNI cells as being bandied around and reported by The Herald last Monday.
According to the officers, who kept this reporter and Mr. Razak Bawa in their Kawokudi office for over four hours, vehemently insisted on a disclosure of sources and Police Statement over the claim that the deceased died in the BNI cells, Mr. Bedzra, rather passed away, after he had been arraigned before an Accra based court and granted bail.
Mr. Awelinga, who is a senior in BNI, in particular, said Mr. Bedzra, prior to his death last year, suffered Diabetes and severe waist pains, of which the deceased had been seeking both medical and spiritual treatment here in Ghana as well as Nigeria and Benin.
He recalled an instance, when he personally saw the deceased on television at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), headed by Prophet T.B. Joshua, therefore, the claims that the suspected gold scammer died in the custody of the BNI, were untrue and misleading.
The operative by the name “Baba” inside an Interrogation Room of the Bureau, openly boasted about how he investigated the gold scam case, which has landed a Constituency Chairman of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Gomoa West in the Central Region, Joseph Kwame Donkor, in the grips of the law, reiterated that Mr. Bedzra died in the 37 Military Hospital.
M. Dogba, the BNI deputy director had through Mr. Awelinga invited the Managing Editor of The Herald last Monday, for a friendly discussion over the claim that Mr. Bedzra died in its custody, despite telephone several discussions over the inadvertent lapse.
This reporter, who reported for the “discussion” in the company with Mr. Bawa, the New Editor of The Herald, ended spending hours with the officers in what looked like a fruitless psychological torture.
Mr. Dogba, who was said by Mr. Awelinga to be on his way to the BNI Headquarters Annex for the supposedly friendly discussion, never showed up and no explanation was offered by him, for his inability to show up, although he had been on a telephone conversation with this reporter for many years, indeed, since his (Larry) days at The Enquirer newspaper.
Baba and one other officer, who would not give out his name, who claimed to be acting on orders from their superiors, had kept this reporter for refusing to write a Police Statement on a mere journalistic lapse that Mr. Bedzra, had died in the BNI cells.
Like their superiors, this reporter told them, the said mistake would be corrected in the Wednesday edition of The Herald, but they would not budge.
They subsequently release Mr. Bawa , but kept this report for additional one hour, insisting on the Police Statement, which was not written.
Before the release at 5pm, Mr. Awelinga who had taken over from his subordinates, offered what to him looked liked an apology.
The National Security Council and Swift International, a Dubai based company revealed that the 1.5 tonnes of gold priced at US$62 million which left the shores of Ghana on December 31, 2012 was not gold but a mixture of metal callously put together to defraud innocent buyers.
The investigations started in the wake of speculations spewed by Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko of the opposition NPP that President John Dramani Mahama had airlifted US$62 million gold bars to defray a loan he had taken from the Iranian government to finance his 2012 campaign.
Interestingly, one Joseph Kwame Donkor, an NPP Constituency chairman for Gomoa West in the Central Region, is rather in the grips of the police, being processed for criminal trial as having been part of the gold scam in which a Dubai-based company has been duped.
Ghana’s National Security and the Dubai-base Swift International, have disclosed that the substance after their investigations was made up of 0.468 percent of Zinc, 1.24 percent of Tin, 0.310 percent of Lead, 0.326 percent of Iron, 0.101 percent of Silicon, 0.644 percent of Copper and 0.031 percent of Aluminum.
Mr. Awelinga, a Senior Investigator, who made the findings of the investigations known at a press conference in Accra, said the rest of the bars contain 025 percent of Gold and 96.13 percent of Nickel.