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'Government does not bug offices, homes of political parties'

BY: Kweku Zurek
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

The government does not bug the offices or homes of political parties and their leadership, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said.

Speaking at a press briefing today in Accra, the Information Minister said it is not the Policy or practice of Government to illegally interfere with the privacy or communication of persons or organizations in Ghana.

Mr Nkrumah was reacting to a claim by the National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi that the government was engaged in “illegal espionage” following the circulation of recordings from a meeting involving its National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and other members.

Mr Gyamfi alleged that the government was employing state resources and the national security apparatus to spy on political opponents.

Mr Nkrumah said: "For the avoidance of doubt the Government responds as follows; the Government of Ghana as a matter of Policy and practice does not bug the offices or homes of political parties and their leadership. Indeed it is not the Policy or practice of Government to illegally interfere with the privacy or communication of persons or organizations in Ghana.

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"To do so will be an infringement on the constitutional provisions of privacy. Government, therefore, finds it distasteful that the said party chooses to bring the name of the state into disrepute in its attempt to respond to queries about the validity and origins of the said conspiratorial conversation.

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"The practice of accusing the state and seeking to portray to the global community of democratic watchers that the state is involved in some illegality is unpatriotic and has the potential to undermine the growing respect that Ghana has for its resilient democracy and respect for rule of law".

He said the government also preferred that a police investigation into the matter is done with the support of the "necessary international acoustic analysts to determine the validity, identities and the level of seriousness to be attached to the alleged conspiracy". 

Mr Nkrumah said the alleged conspiracy captured on the tape, if true, puts at risk politically exposed persons, families and associates of the ruling party, women and children in Ghana.

"It also puts at risk state organizations such as National Peace Council and the Electoral Commission. The necessary steps, therefore, to ensure the security of such persons and institutions is being examined," he stressed.

Read the Information Minister's entire address below;

MINISTER’S PRESS BRIEFING- 28/02/19
ADDRESSED BY KOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH (MP)
VENUE: MINISTER’S CONFERENCE ROOM


Good morning and thank you for attending this briefing.

This morning we have two topics…..

1. GOVERNMENT TAKES SERIOUSLY ALLEGED CONSPIRACY TO CREATE INSECURITY

2. GOVERNMENT WELCOMES SUPPORT TO WIN FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL / IRRESPONSIBLE SMALL SCALE MINING


GOVERNMENT TAKES SERIOUSLY ALLEGED CONSPIRACY TO CREATE INSECURITY

The Government of Ghana takes notice of accusations by a political party in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the government has bugged the offices of the said party and doctored a tape recording of a meeting of its leadership which tape appears to show the leadership of the said party conspiring to create insecurity in the country.
For the avoidance of doubt the Government responds as follows:
1. The Government of Ghana as a matter of Policy and practice does not bug the offices or homes of political parties and their leadership. Indeed it is not the Policy or practice of Government to illegally interfere with the privacy or communication of persons or organizations in Ghana.

To do so will be an infringement on the constitutional provisions of privacy. Government therefore finds it distasteful that the said party chooses to bring the name of the state into disrepute in its attempt to respond to queries about the validity and origins of the said conspiratorial conversation.

The practice of accusing the state and seeking to portray to the global community of democratic watchers that the state is involved in some illegality is unpatriotic and has the potential to undermine the growing respect that Ghana has for its resilient democracy and respect for rule of law.
2. Whilst President Akufo-Addo’s administration cannot speak for past administrations, including the immediate past NDC administration, this administration does not and has not bugged offices of Political parties, its key actors, individuals or organizations for that matter.

3. Without prejudice to the admission of the tape and its contents by Officials of the party including Deputy Organizer Kwaku Boahen and others, The Ghana Police Service has commenced an investigation to determine for itself the level of seriousness that ought to be attached to the said recording. It is our understanding that The Police investigation will also determine whether or not indeed the leaders of the said party in a conspiracy to commit acts to cause insecurity within the Ghanaian jurisdiction.

All must support this investigation preferably done with the support of the necessary international acoustic analysts to determine the validity, identities and the level of seriousness to be attached to the alleged conspiracy.

Matters of security are key to the cohesion and stability of the state and therefore must be handled with the highest level of seriousness at all times and Government urges the security agencies to do so in this incident as well.

4. The alleged conspiracy, if true, puts at risk politically exposed persons, families and associates of the ruling party, women and children in Ghana.
It also puts at risk state organizations such as National Peace Council and the Electoral commission. The necessary steps therefore to ensure the security of such persons and institutions is being examined.

5. Government takes very seriously any attempt to attack constitutional and legal entities like the electoral commission and the national peace council or any conspiracy to deploy violence and panic through kidnappings and mob attacks using vigilante groups or in general any enterprise to create insecurity within the Ghanaian jurisdiction.

To this end, Government will continue to resource and assist the security agencies to forestall any conspiracies to commit crime or acts that create a state of insecurity in Ghana. The capacity and determination of the state to maintain peace and security and protect Ghana’s enviable image remains unchanged. And the Akufo-Addo administration will not renege on its responsibility in this field.

The government urges all stakeholders of our democracy to seriously take a dim view of acts that have the potential to undermine the nation’s democracy. Leadership from across the Political and civil society landscape should as a matter of urgency take a keen interest in complimenting the efforts of the state in further deepening our democracy and security.

Government will continue to act in accordance with law and best practice in preserving the security and the sense of security and will deal resolutely with any persons found culpable in an effort to undermine the sense of the security in the state.

GOVERNMENT WELCOMES SUPPORT TO WIN FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL / IRRESPONSIBLE SMALL SCALE MINING

Government welcomes any efforts aimed at assisting it succeed in its fight against illegal small scale mining

Government will have the said tapes properly investigated using the raw unedited footage

If any persons are found to have solicited monies or taken bribes to bend rules the necessary action will be taken.