Leaked tape doctored - COP Mensah tells Parliament committee
One of the three police officers alleged to have featured in a conversation that discussed a purported plot to remove the Inspector General of Police has challenged the authenticity of the audio being investigated by the seven-member committee of Parliament.
Commissioner of Police (COP) George Alex Mensah, the Director-General in charge of Technical Services of the Ghana Police Service, said although he could identify a voice that resembled his, he strongly believed the tape had been doctored.
He made the statement when he appeared before the committee yesterday to answer questions about the veracity or otherwise of the leaked tape.
“This is an edited tape; there are so many things in that tape that I heard today that I do not remember, and there are certain things I remember that we discussed that are not on the tape,” he said.
COP Mensah, who appeared in the company of the counsel, said: “I cannot deny that I had conversation with Chief Bugri Naabu, and my voice is on the tape”.
Last Monday, the former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Daniel Bugri Naabu, authenticated the leaked tape when he appeared before the committee.
He identified three senior police officers — COP Mensah, Superintendent George Asare and Superintendent Emmanuel Gyebi — as people he discussed the plot to remove the IGP with.
My voice doctored
Prior to the commencement of the proceedings yesterday, the committee played the tape to the hearing of COP Mensah and his counsel.
When the Chairman of the committee, Samuel Atta Akyea, asked if he could identify the voices on the tape, COP Mensah said: “I identify some voice that resembles my voice, but I cannot specifically say that this is my voice”.
Mr Atta Akyea asked if he was imputing that somebody had doctored his voice, and he responded “exactly; somebody has doctored my voice”, acknowledging that he was aware that Mr Naabu taped the conversation which took place at his (Mr Naabu’s) office opposite the Osu Police Station and his house at Dansoman.
When the Vice-Chairman of the committee, James Agalga, asked him which aspect of the audio he heard was true to him, COP Mensah said: “Mr Chair, the audio that I heard is the edited version of the conversation that we had.
“As I sit here, I cannot tell you from the first minute to the last minutes of all those things that were in the audio for me to reproduce to you what is genuine and what is not genuine,” he said.
He made reference to an earlier request by his counsel, Kwaku Owusu Agyeman, to the committee to get them the original tape to study it before answering questions, saying “as I sit here, if I recollect everything that was said in the audio, then I would be lying.”
Seemingly unhappy with the answers being given by COP Mensah, the Chairman of the committee caused the tape to be replayed to COP Mensah and his legal team after which the Chairman asked if he wanted to deny the uninterrupted, logical flow of conversation between him and Mr Naabu.
COP Mensah said: “I hear a voice that resembles my voice, but I cannot accept everything in the conversation.
“Mr Chairman, I would not deny the flow of conversation.
What I want to say is the audio is edited and somebody can fake my voice,” he said.
Quizzed further if he would admit whether there was a portion of the tape that he could boldly claim had not been faked, COP Mensah said: “Mr Chairman, not the entire tape has someone faking my voice”.
COP Mensah, who is currently on terminal leave pending retirement, requested the committee to obtain the original tape which Mr Naabu gave to the President.
When the Vice-Chair asked him what he discussed with Mr Naabu, he said he had met Mr Naabu four times and discussed so many issues, most of them private matters, adding that he was not ready to reveal the details of the discussions.
He described as “wholly incorrect” the allegation that he held the meeting with Mr Naabu with the view to having the IGP removed on grounds that Dr Dampare’s continued stay in office would not injure the current government’s prospects in the 2024 elections.
When Mr Agalga asked him to clarify what he meant in his conversation with Mr Naabu that elections were about “mafia work”, COP Mensah denied ever saying that.
He explained that in elections, there was always some Mafia work that was employed to undermine successful elections, citing instances such as snatching of ballot boxes.
“So, if you allow people to come and snatch ballot boxes at your stronghold, then you are ending in opposition,” he explained.
IGP not managing service well
When he was asked to explain what he meant in his conversation with Mr Naabu that the “IGP is not correct”, he said he stood by the assertion.
“I will make that statement again that the current IGP is not managing the police service well, and it is something I would not run away from.
“I would say it anywhere that I go, and you can do your own investigations, call police officers and find that from them,” he said.
He indicated that his concern was that majority of police officers were not happy, a situation that did not augur well to deploy such officers to oversee elections.
Asked if he was a politician as a serving police officer, he boldly admitted, saying “yes, of course I am, and there is nobody here who is not a politician”.
No bad blood
When a member of the committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, sought to know if there was bad blood between him and the current IGP, COP Mensah said he did not have any personal issues with his boss.
“I do not have any bad blood with the IGP, but what I do is I speak my mind whether you like it or not.
If you are my boss and you do what I do not like, I would tell you and you can decide to hate me for that,” he said.
Earlier, Superintendent Gyebi, whom Bugri Naabu claimed to have arranged with to go and see the President to discuss the idea of removing the IGP from office, denied knowing Chief Bugri and discussing such an idea with him.
“It is a palpable lie as I do not know Bugri Naabu.
I do not have his telephone number, so how would I know it was Chief Bugri Naabu I was speaking to?” he asked.