Kweku Baako & NPP Gov’t Cook Another False Story……
16 years, after a widely circulated reports of a coup d’état by Lieutenant Colonel, Larry Gbevlo–Lartey, the ex-Commander of the 64 Infantry Regiment of Ghana Armed Forces, against the John Agyekum Kufuor government, the carriers of that story, which turned out to be fake news, are back in town, robustly propagating and fueling a similar story with difficulty.
One of the carriers of the report, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako; Managing Editor of New Crusading Guide, at the time, just like now, gave currency to the Kufuor government’s claim that, Gbevlo–Lartey, was planning to overthrow the regime, but the case did not go anywhere, as the soldier was not prosecuted, despite days of his interrogation by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
The Independent Newspaper then edited by Egbert Faibille Jnr ,currently the CEO for the Petroleum Commission of Ghana, was part of the carriers of the Gbevlo-Lartey coup story, running a screaming headline on August 5, 2003, captioned: “Coup Attempt In Ghana – Plotters Arrested” saying the four persons, including Gbevlo-Lartey, had been arrested in Accra, in connection with an alleged coup attempt.
But it also turned out that the Kufuor administration, just wanted to sack Lt. Col. Gbevlo–Lartey from the Ghana Armed Forces and had planted the coup story against him to set the stage for his “honourable discharge” from the Army, he went on five years later, to become the National Security Coordinator.
He had practiced law and also worked at Lt. General Arnold Quainoo’s Centre For Conflict Resolution (CENCOR) in Accra, ahead of his appointment by late President John Evans Atta Mills, as National Security Capo.
Today, Lt. Col. Gbevlo–Lartey, is currently the African Union Chairperson’s Special Representative in Charge of Counter Terrorism Cooperation, as the Director of the Algiers-based African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT).
But in a similar pattern, the Akufo-Addo government, has also arrested some civilians and military officers on the claim of coup, however, the announcement by the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has been ridiculed by Ghanaians, including security experts, because although government announced that attempts to attack the Presidency and destabilize the country, the civilian suspects, had rather been charged with possession of weapons and treason, which carries the death sentence.
The Herald has picked up intelligence that, two Colonels of the Ghana Armed Forces: Col Dameli and Col. Ntem, are currently in the custody of the BNI over the coup claim.
They are said to be lifelong friends of Dr. Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, having attended Bishop Herman College, Kpando, together.
Reports are that all three are from Kpando in the Volta Region. Interestingly, Lt. Col. Gbevlo-Lartey, is also a product of Bishop Herman College, popular called BIHECO.
Interestingly, ahead of Kojo Oppong Nkrumah’s announcement, one Colonel Commey, who is still in uniform; dropped names of the military personnel on a social media platform, which was forwarded to The Herald.
The document was titled: Military Suspects”. The names were: WO2 Esther Saan alias Mama G. Her Unit was given as MAT. The document mentioned that he had been detained in the Guard Room of Signal. L/Cpl Sylvester Akanpewon (Sly) of the 49 Engineering Regiment who was detained at 5BN. Cpl ZakariaWaheed of Jubilee House not detained. SgtAwarf Sule MAT, who is detained in the Guard Room of 48 Regiment. LAC Ibrahim Baba of AFB Tamale not detained. LAC Abubakar Sadique of AFB Tdi who was detained at the RECCE Guard Room, LAC Nii Ankrah of AFB Acc, who was detained at the 1BN, Sgt Nantona Jones, Cpl Nazine of ACTS and L/Cpl Kenkene Solomon of GMP HQ detained in the Military Police Guard Room.
It is not clear, whether these names are among the ones the government mentioned as the arrested military officers, who were part of the attempt to destabilize the government by attacking the Presidency.
But Kweku Baako, has since jumped to the defense of the Akufo-Addo government, as he did to the Kufuor government, insisting it claim against the suspects namely; Dr. Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, Ezor Kafui and Bright Allan Debrah Ofosu, in the alleged coup plot was “factual” contrary to popular opinion, including that of some security experts.
Contrary to the positions of Col. (Rtd) Festus Aboagye, head of Security Warehouse Limited; Adam Bonaa and a former Spokesperson for the defunct Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Major Retired Osahene Boakye-Djan, Mr Baako, even though he cannot pronounce the guilt of the suspects; said it was early days for people to rubbish it at this stage.
“I will not say they are guilty…. I am not a judge and it will be so unfair to say so but I think the story is factual….As to their guilt or otherwise, it’s within the remit of the court of law and it will be unfair on my part to sit here and create the impression that, whatever I am saying put together amounts to the basis for a judge to say they are guilty.
I can’t do that, it will be so unfair. So what I am saying is that, when this case travels from where it is now because that place is so preliminary but I have seen that some people are prematurely are ejaculating”
Mr Baako, who has been off the media space for quite a while now said, he knows a lot except that “It is not everything we know that we can say”.
Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo programme hosted by Kwami Sefa Kayi on Wednesday, Mr Baako, said the 15 months period disclosed by the government was for “intelligence gathering” and that now that they have been apprehended, further interrogation and investigations, are going to commence for prosecution.
“The 15 months that they said was used for surveillance, was for intelligence gathering”.
The veteran journalist, said among others that, he was aware there are both audio and video recordings of the group by people who infiltrated their rank.
“I am aware there are audio and video recordings, because that gang was infiltrated. Of course!”
He said, there was basis for government to interrogate and investigate the issue to its logical conclusion. Mr Baako, said government was on track to have gotten the suspects, pending thorough investigation. He said docket is not now going to be built after interrogations and investigations are conducted.
“The judicial processes, what has started now, have started all right. First, there was 48 hour constitutional limitation you needed to meet. The purpose in court yesterday was clearly, to get that 48 hour limitation out of the way to get them remanded.
It got to a stage those in-charge decided this was the time to effect arrest. Post arrest, investigation and interrogation will lead to a docket.
As we speak, there is nothing like a docket, its early, they have not interrogated the people. They have arrested, interrogated may have started by now investigation of course is on-going there are other guys involved”.
He disagreed with claim by security analyst, Adam Bonaa that government through the Minister of Information, erred when it put the planned coup in the public domain.
Mr Baako, argued that similar events in the past, have shown that such news has no consequence on the economy.
Recalling the three South Africa mercenaries under former President Mahama and Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central infamous kill Gas and Ewes declaration under Prof Mills, Mr Baako, said even though in the two cases, the issues were reported extensively by even the international media, investor confidence did not decline.
He did not understand why in the present case, a different approach is being employed calling it “hypocrisy” and “selective amnesia”.
Touching on the ammunitions retrieved from the suspects, Mr Baako, said the arguments being pushed, had no basis because in the three South African mercenaries, items seized from their hideout were even worse.
He mentioned some of the 35 items as; web belt, mosquito coil, whiteboard cleaner, plastic replica guns, black pens, training knives, A4 printing paper, saying these items come nowhere near what was retrieved presently some being : 5x locally manufactured pistols with magazines fitted on, 1x foreign pistol with 2x magazines, 3x locally manufactured pistol barrels, 3x smoke grenades, 22x improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), 9x 7.62mm NATO AK47 rounds, 2Xak47 magazines, 1x long knife and 63x 9mm NATO rounds.