…As retiring Senior Police Officer picks & chooses his own questions
The seven- members of the parliamentary committee probing a viral leaked tape that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, must be removed to ensure that the NPP wins the 2024 elections, were yesterday treated to a dose of naked envy and sheer arrogance by the Director of Operations of the Ghana Police Service, in his choice of words, as well as body language.
At a stage during his testimony, George Alex Mensah, a Commissioner of Police, called the ex-Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Daniel Bugri Naabu, a liar on some of his claims before the committee and also told the Members of Parliament (MPs) that the current IGP, is mismanaging the Police Service asked them to investigate his assertions.
COP Mensah, admitted that the voice on the tape was his, but claimed that parts of it had been doctored.
“The current IGP, is not managing the police service well. It’s something I will not run away from. I’ll say it everywhere and anywhere I go. And you can do your own investigations. Call police officers underground and find out from them”, he said adding, majority of the police officers are not happy with IGP Dampare’s administration of the Police Service.
Since the inception of the Akufo-Addo administration in 2017, the police service, has had three IGPs starting with David Asante Appeatu, James Oppong-Boanuh and Dr Akuffo Dampare, however, COP Mensah, who revealed that he had been a sympathizer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), said he “started lobbying to be IGP as far back as 2017”.
He added that “My CV was given to somebody who Bugri Naabu sent to come and collect from me. The purpose was for him to go and lobby for me to become the IGP. The lobbying didn’t work, it wasn’t successful, of course, and that is not the first time lobbying has failed.”
“Some of us started lobbying from 2017 to become IGP… It is not only commissioners who are appointed as IGPs. Yes, Nana Owusu-Nsiah, was promoted from deputy commissioner to IGP when there were commissioners,” the Director of Operations of the Ghana Police Service currently on leave pending retirement in September 2023 said.
COP Mensah, made the revelation during his appearance before the committee probing the secret tape in which some senior police officers are heard in a conversation with Bugri Naabu, plotting the removal of the IGP.
He told the Committee chaired by Samuel Atta Akyea that “Bugri Naabu told this committee a lot of lies”, and later promised “Mr. Chairman, I speak the truth, but the weight of truth you attach to it is yours, not mine”. He smartly sought to deny some of the claims on the tape while admitting some others with arrogant posturing.
He displayed envy when he admitted his claims on the tape that while serving as Deputy Superintendent of Police, the current IGP was a mere Sergeant, but later bypassed him to be a COP as a result of favours he received from the government of late President John Evans Atta Mills, as well as his successor, John Dramani Mahama.
The retiring senior police officer, also admitted telling Bugri Naabu that Dr Akuffo Dampare, could not become an IGP under NPP government, because he is an NDC sympathizer who had served as an ADC to the late President Atta Mills when the latter was a Vice-President to then President Jerry John Rawlings.
The MP for Wa West Constituency, Peter Lanchene Toobu, an ex-Police officer himself, had asked COP Mensah whether the IGP did not pass him in rank because he had become a chartered accountant and the police administration had recognized his qualification and promoted him, to which the COP responded in the affirmative.
The Wa West MP again, had COP Mensah admit that he had also served as ADC to onetime Vice President, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, who was Mr Rawlings’ vice from 1992 to January 1996, but he retorted that he only became an ADC after Mr Arkaah, had become a running mate to the then NPP Presidential candidate, John Agyekum Kufuor, prior to the 1996 presidential election.
Aside from mentioning the IGP as an NDC man working for the returning of the NDC into office, COP Mensah, had labeled COP Christian Tetteh Yehunu and some other officers as NDC sympathizers in the Police Service. He, however, said he could not stand the claim that they were NDC sympathizers.
On his claim that IGP, Dr Akuffo Dampare, is mismanaging the Police Service, COP Mensah explained that the IGP’s leadership has led to a decline in morale among many police officers.
He claimed that the tape had been doctored and did not accurately reflect the content of the original conversation with Bugri Naabu and expressed his inability to verify several details on the tape.
He also firmly stated that there was no plan to remove the IGP, emphasizing that the tape circulating has been strongly edited.
In a direct exchange with Committee Chairman Samuel Atta Akyea, COP Mensah stated that “this tape that was played today, to me was an edited tape, I have not heard any unedited tape for me to talk about as I sit here.”
COP Mensah added “The tape that I heard today, there are so many things in that tape that I don’t remember and there are so many things that we discussed that are not on the tape. I’ve met Bugri Naabu four times and we have discussed many things, some of them private things that I am not ready to discuss in public.
“I had a meeting with Bugri Naabu, but I don’t remember having any plan to remove the IGP, because I don’t remove IGPs.”
His claims completely contradict the testimony of Bugri Naabu, who confirmed the veracity of the tape and also confirmed recording it in his private office in Osu.
Bugri Naabu, also admitted that COP Mensah, wanted him to discuss the possible removal of Dampare from office because he was not likely to help the NPP win the 2024 elections.
Ahead of his COP Mensah’s evidence yesterday, his lawyer who also represented two other police officers implicated in a leaked tape objected to the participation of Mr Lanchene and James Agalga, on the parliamentary committee.
During the hearing convened on Thursday, August 31, the committee encountered objections raised by the legal representatives of the senior police officers implicated in the leaked tape.
Kwaku Owusu Agyemang, the lawyer who also represented Superintendent Asare, and Superintendent Emmanuel Gyebi, argued that Lanchene and Agalga, had made public statements that could potentially compromise their impartiality during the proceedings.
Despite repeated attempts to push for the removal of Lanchene and Agalga from the committee, Atta Akyea, the committee’s chairman, asserted that the alleged comments did not taint the committee’s investigative integrity.
Atta Akyea reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring a fair and unbiased process, assuring Boateng that the witnesses’ rights would be upheld as long as he remained at the helm of the committee.
Mr Toobu and Mr Agalga, also dismissed the concerns that the comments could in any way affect the work of the committee. Mr Toobu particularly denied making the comments attributed to him in a story published by Ghanaweb.