Ghana’s Minster for Foreign Affairs and National Integration, Ms Hannah Serwah Tetteh, has broken her silence over the arrest of Ms Nayele Ametefe, aka Ruby Adu Gyamfi, the lady who was busted few weeks ago at Heathrow Airport, London, for smuggling 12.5 kilos of cocaine, valued at US$5 million.
She disclosed that the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Jon Benjamin, has dispatched a secret diplomatic letter to her saying, Ms. Ametefe who real name is Ruby Appiah, was not carrying a diplomatic passport at the time of her arrest at the Heathrow International Airport.
The Minister, in a radio interview with an Accra-based Radio Gold yesterday, gave a detailed account of an interaction the Ghana Consular Officers had with Ms. Adu-Gyamfi aka “Angel”, revealing that the lady several times attempted driving away Ghanaian diplomats, who had visited her in police custody to accord her consular assistance, saying she did not travelled to UK as a Ghanaian citizen.
The visit of the officers, was at the behest of Ghana’s High Commissioner, Emmanuel Victor Smith, who had earlier received matching orders from the Foreign Minister from Accra to get details of Ms. Ametefe from Surrey, where she was being kept by the UK authorities.
Ms Tetteh, in the interview, categorically denied speculation that Ms Ametefe traveled with a Ghanaian diplomatic passport, which is supposed to have been issued by the John Mahama government.
According to her, this was corroborated by Ms Ametefe, whom she said upon seeing the Ghanaian officials, arrogantly questioned them, and asked why they were there, since she didn’t travel with a Ghanaian passport.
“When they went to visit her, apparently her first response was that she didn’t travel with a Ghanaian passport, so why were they there? She said.
The Minister, also hinted that a Ghanaian businessman, has been named in the infamous Nayele Ametefeh cocaine brouhaha.
According to her, the businessman (name withheld), assisted Ms Ametefeh, through a telephone call he made to the VVIP lounge of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), requesting that the suspect be given a preferential treatment to board the plane.
The Minister, insisted that the businessman in question is not related to President John Mahama or his brothers and sisters.
The Minister, also stated emphatically that her outfit has not authorized the issuance of a Diplomatic passport to Ms Nayele Ametefeh.
Ms Nayele Ametefeh, alias Ruby Adu Gyamfi, alias Ruby Appiah alias Angel, was recently arrested at the Heathrow International Airport London on November 10, 2014 carrying 12.5 kilogrammes of substance confirmed to be cocaine.
Media reports after her arrest suggested that Ms Ametefeh, travelled to London on a Ghanaian Diplomatic passport. It further linked the drug suspect to the first family, thereby, alleging that the suspect was assisted at the KIA by persons close to the President.
The government communication machinery, led by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Omane Boamah, subsequently rebuffed the claims, stating that the suspect travelled to London on an Austrian passport.
Nevertheless, many political players, especially from the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Party (NDP), have called the government’s denial of issuing a Diplomatic passport to Ms Ametefeh, a blatant lie.
To clear the air once and for all, Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, who is responsible for authorizing the issuance of Diplomatic passports to government officials, says Ms Ametefeh, has no Ghanaian Diplomatic passport.
“Since I became Foreign Affairs Minister, I have not authorized the issuance of a Diplomatic passport to Nayele Ametefeh, alias Ruby Adu Gyamfi or whatever name she may be using,” she told the Gold Power Drive morning show host, Alhassan Suhuyini, yesterday.
She added that, “I am the only person who can authorize a Diplomatic passport. If any of my staff issue a Diplomatic passport from the passport office without my prior authorization, that essentially means that they have attempted to commit an unlawful act.”
Ms Hannah Tetteh, assured that her Ministry would investigate the matter to its logical conclusion to ensure that all persons associated with the Nayele Ametefeh cocaine scandal face the law.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, further revealed that a Ghanaian businessman (name withheld), contacted one Abiel Ashitey Armah to assist Ms Ametefeh to use the VVIP lounge to board the plane.
According to the Minister, Ms Ametefeh, got on board the plane with only her handbag, noting that a bag was later delivered to her on the plane, which contained the cocaine.
Ms Nayele Ametefeh, alias Ruby Adu Gyamfi, alias Angel, is also reported to have told Ghanaian consular officers in London that she did not travel on a Ghanaian passport, even though she was carrying one.
The suspect has, however, refused to name her employer noting that she is aware of the consequences of her actions, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration pointed out.
The Minister said that information from the two officers, who had the exclusive interaction with Ruby was that, she went through the VIP section of the KIA but not the VVIP, which is meant for Presidents and highly important dignitaries.
She said, Ruby again told the officers that she did not pass through the airport with the substance, but were brought to her inside the British Airways plane by some officers at the airport, who already knew her name and the seat she was sitting.
Ms. Tetteh said “This is the story she told the Consular Officers…… that she went through the VIP Lounge and that she didn’t carry anything unto the plane. But when she got unto the plane, somebody who was a Ground Staff brought a bag to her, she didn’t know who the person was, but the person knew her name and the seat she was sitting on”.
“…and that she collected the bag and it was heavy it wasn’t possible for her to pick it up and put in the over head luggage compartment, so she opened her bag, she took out two packages and put them in her handbag and then put them in a luggage compartment. She said that as far as she was concerned, she didn’t know that what she was holding was cocaine, and that she thought it was gold”.
The minister further revealed that Ms. Ametefe, told the two Ghanaian consular officers that she did not know that the consignment handed over to her worth US$5 million, had anything to do with cocaine, but thought it was gold. She said she decided to accept the offer, because the money she was going to get was “good”.
“Now whether that is true or not Suhiniyi is not the point am raising, am just reporting to you what she is supposed to have said to the consular officers, so whether she knew whether it was gold or whether she knew it was cocaine, I am not in the position to judge”, she said.
She said Ms. Ametefe was not forthcoming with information to the two officers, but indicated that she was aware of the consequence of her action and was ready to do a jail term.
Ms Tetteh, said that she was not in the position to say whether what Angel said was true or otherwise, but was only interested in presenting the fact as told by her from faraway UK.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Awutu Senya, Ms Ametefe, “wasn’t ready to give them any more information and when they tried to ask her who was the person who sent the guy to bring her the bag onboard …she said wasn’t prepared to say anything else that she was ready to undertake this activity because the money was good”.
“But she was resigned to the fact that she has been caught and she was ready to do the time in jail, and she was not going to give any further information. Because as I told you, her attitude was why are you here in any event I have been busted, I am aware about the consequence of who I was working for and I accept the fact that I am probably going to do some jail”.
The Minister said on that same cocaine story, the allegation that some Ghanaian diplomats, were at the airport to receive Ms Ametefe, was never true. She has been informed by Ambassador Smith that the staff of the mission, were at the Heathrow Airport on a separate reason.
She said, the officers though were at the Airport, there were to receive a delegation of security officers from the Defense Ministry and not to receive Ruby, who was whisk away by the Border Control Agency of UK.