Interdiction of 3 police officers premature — Security expert
A security expert, Emmanuel Kotin, has described the interdiction of the three senior police officers implicated in the ongoing investigation of the leaked IGP tape as premeditated and premature.
He said according to Constitutional Instrument (CI) 76, only three disciplinary authorities: the President, Inspector General of Police and the Central Disciplinary Board, could interdict any officer in the police service.
Mr Kotin, who is the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Security and Counterterrorism, therefore wondered which of these organs triggered the interdiction, given the ranks of the victims.
A statement dated September 7, 2023, and signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Grace Ansah-Akrofi, said COP George Alex Mensah, Superintendent Emmanuel Eric Gyebi and Superintendent George Lysander Asare had been interdicted to enable the service to pursue further disciplinary procedures in compliance with Police Service regulations.
Grounds for interdiction
Reacting to the issue, however, Mr Koti asked what prompted the interdiction when the leaked audio was already out before the Parliamentary probe began.
“The police are not the people investigating the matter and so on what basis are they interdicting the officers, and why wait until these officers have given evidence before the parliamentary committee?” he asked.
He also wondered whether the enquiry was going to lead to disciplinary action within the service.
“Does the action of the affected police officers amount to misconduct?
If yes, what type of misconduct?” he asked, adding that interdictions were not arbitrary tools, hence their use must be founded on specific conditions”
Mr Kotin said he looked forward to seeing how the affected officers would use the law to vindicate themselves.
“So, the officers would now have to use the law to vindicate their rights,” he said.
For him, the interdiction amounted to witness tampering because it was not the police that were investigating the matter but an ad hoc committee of Parliament, with the IGP also being subject to the investigations.
He said from the evidence provided by the three senior police officers at the probe, the “burden of proof has now shifted to the IGP.”
“So literally, he (IGP) does not have any moral right, like I mentioned in CI 76, if he triggered this interdiction,” he stressed.
Mr Kotin said if it was the IGP who triggered the interdiction and not the President or the Disciplinary Board as stipulated in CI 76, “This can amount to an attempt to silence those willing to appear before the committee and that would not be good for our democracy.”
The future, he said, was pregnant in the coming days and weeks with regard to the leaked audio.
“Essentially, he who calls for justice must equally come with clean hands. I think the IGP must step aside so that we can have a very independent exercise as far as this committee is concerned so that he does not even tamper with other witnesses,” he said.
Mr Kotin said if the IGP failed to do that, the President had the moral duty to step in and let the IGP step aside.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, constituted a special seven-member committee chaired by Samuel Atta Akyea to probe the alleged leaked audio containing a discussion on the purported removal of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, from office.
It comprised three legislators from each side of the House, with support from a technical person to assist in the investigation.
The committee's mandate is to investigate the secret recording and its implications regarding the alleged plot to remove IGP Dampare from office.
It is expected to deliver its findings by September 10, 2023.
The three interdicted officers have already appeared before the committee, with COP Mensah and Supt Asare implicating Dr Dampare as the person behind the recording.
So far, four key witnesses have appeared before the committee, including a former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bugri Naabu, who confessed to have recorded the tape and handed it over to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
However, COP Mensah and Superintendent Asare insisted that the tape being examined by the committee had been "doctored, cut and paste".
Both officers urged the committee to procure the original tape from President Akufo-Addo and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare.
At its last sitting, Mr Akyea revealed that some senior police officers had petitioned the committee.
Although he did not disclose the content of the petition, he said the committee was resolute in its commitment to ensure that the truth prevailed.