Interdicting senior officers involved in Bugri Naabu leaked tape "amazes me" - COP (rtd) Bright Oduro
It is amazing that the Ghana Police administration decided to act and interdict three senior officers after Parliament had instituted a public probe into the matters about the Bugri Naabu leaked tape, a retired Commissioner of Police (COP), Mr Bright Oduro has said.
He said it was premature for the police service to have interdicted the Director General in charge of Technical, COP Mr George Alex Mensah and the two others, Superintendent Mr. Emmanuel Eric Gyebi, and Superintendent Mr. George Lysander Asare without allowing them to comment on the conversation contained on the tape.
In the police service, interdiction comes in when the issue at stake is criminal or it is a serious misconduct, but even with that, the persons involved should be given an opportunity for a comment before an interdiction, Mr Oduro said.
“That is what amazes me because this tape has been out for more than two weeks now and the police administration has not taken any action and for Parliament to institute a public probe and then the police administration suddenly comes out with an interdiction for that.”
“I am not comfortable with it in my opinion, I don’t think it is well placed,” COP (retired) Mr Bright Oduro said in a radio interview with Accra based Citi FM, monitored by Graphic Online on Thursday night (Sept 7).
COP (rtd) Mr Oduro, well noted for his prowess in criminal investigations over many years, rose through the ranks and headed the Criminal Investigations Department of the Police Service before retiring.
The radio station had called him on Thursday evening after the Black Stars match for his perspectives on what was happening in the police service in relation to the Parliamentary probe of the leaked Bugri Naabu tape that contains a discussion on the administration of the police service and how the whole issue was being discussed in the public domain.
The conversation on the tape involved a plot to remove the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare from office.
Opportunity for comment before interdiction
Mr Oduro said the interdiction “doesn’t tell us whether the police have a copy of the tape. If the police have a copy of the tape, then of course, they will listen to the content and maybe find something wrong with the tape, maybe those who might have engaged in that conversation had probably not spoken well or misconducted themselves, they would have been given the opportunity to make some comments…,
"Here we have a whole Commissioner of Police, who we learn was also in line for the IGP position and so if he’s engaged in some private conversation, which has been recorded and brought into the public domain and the police has a copy of the tape, and the police sees something wrong with the content, the officer should have probably been given the opportunity to explain himself by way of comment and then if the comment don’t sit well with the administration, or the IGP for that matter, then disciplinary action can then be proceeded against the officers or the officer," he added.
“The administration may not necessarily interdict them, they can set disciplinary action in motion immediately, a service inquiry or something of a sort should take place if they are not comfortable, or if the police officers have misconducted themselves.
“You can carry on with a service inquiry without necessarily interdicting, because interdiction as far as I know, are placed on officers mostly when the officers are engaged in some criminal activity, or serious misconduct, but who is going to say that the conversation that they were engaged in, constitute or amount to serious misconduct," Mr Oduro said.
“Of course, there is nothing to indicate that they were engaged in any criminal activity, so that is out. So about serious misconduct, what shows that the conversation they were engaged in amounts to serious misconduct, and so if you place interdiction on them, I don’t feel comfortable with it because we should have allowed the case to have been properly investigated."
“Parliament has taken the lead, we should have allowed them to investigate in full and then recommendations made and then you and I will then be in the position to know whether what they did wasn’t good or not.
“But in any case, here was a private conversation with Chief Bugri Naabu, somebody records and somebody puts it in the public domain, I don’t know whether the person who recorded was the same person who decided to make the public aware. What conduct was that? And for me whoever did that, some people say it is criminal, but I think that the person who did that wanted to pay the officers back in their own coin. I don’t know what the officers had done. But the person who did that wanted to pay them back because probably the officers had been in a conversation and spoken about some wrongs in the police service so they had to be recorded, the public should know, so that they will be seen in some ridiculous manner.”
“The interdiction I think is not anywhere close because if they wanted to interdict them, it should have been done earlier and again the officers should have been given the opportunity to comment on the tape.
“The question, does the police administration has a copy of the tape, and what action have they taken, you just take action by interdicting officers who were expressing views about how police service was being or is being administered. So it doesn’t sit well with me with the interdiction," the retired Commissioner of Police said.
Hearing should have been in camera
Mr Oduro maintained that he would have also preferred that the sitting would have been in camera so that the officers would have been encouraged to speak out.
“When it is public like this, you will not be able to speak the way you would want to, because it is not everything that you would want the public to know and the officers themselves, both Commissioner Mr Alex Mensah and Superintendent Mr Asare alluded to this that they were prepared to speak in detail of what is happening in the Police Service when they are given the opportunity in camera.”
“I think the investigation or the probe should have been conducted in closed doors,” he added.
The Ghana Police Service on Thursday (Sept 7) announced the interdiction of COP Mr George Alex Mensah, Superintendent Mr Emmanuel Eric Gyebi and Superintendent Mr George Lysander Asare in connection with a leaked audio tape, which has become a subject matter of investigation by Parliament.
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