New secret tape on IGP’s removal pops up - Committee to conduct in-camera hearing
A new secret tape claimed to be the comprehensive tape containing the discussion on the purported plan to oust the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, from office has been made available to the parliamentary committee investigating the authenticity of the audio.
The source of the tape has, however, not been made known.
Per the testimonies of two of the witnesses who appeared before the committee — Commissioner of Police (COP) George Alex Mensah and Superintendent George Asare — the tape being relied upon by the committee is “doctored, cut and paste”.
The two separately urged the committee to obtain the original tape from the President and the IGP.
Speaking to the press after a three-hour grilling of Supt Asare in Parliament yesterday, the Chairman of the committee, Samuel Atta Akyea, said, “Now, we have the benefit of a tape on the assumption that it is authentic and the members of the committee will have to internalise that tape.
It will be transcribed and we will look at it to do proper analysis.
That will inform us about what to do,” he said.
Mr Atta Akyea said due to national security implications, the committee would conduct what he described as “a long in-camera hearing”.
“We will be guided strongly by the fact that this is not a simple exercise and not everything that should be to the general public as it will have implications for the nation.
“If your name is on the tape and your role is significant and we are doing proper fact finding, it is automatic you have to appear before the committee,” he said.
Mr Atta Akyea added that the committee, during its sitting yesterday, received a petition from senior police officers, but that the committee was yet to peruse the petition.
“But trust us as a committee that there is nothing of consequence that we will brush aside.
It is going to be a comprehensive interrogation, and we will not block those who want to aid our fact finding,” he added.
The chairman indicated that the committee had realised that some senior police officers had also taken the IGP to court in relation to their promotion.
“So, I have instructed that they should first furnish us with the writ so that we know the content of what is pending in court,” he said.
At the commencement of yesterday’s hearing, the chairman asked Supt Asare if he admitted that his voice was on the tape.
The witness admitted that the voice on the tape “is mine" but insisted that it was “cut and paste” which made the tape “incomplete”.
“The tape that has been played here on three occasions is doctored, and the one who doctored it meant evil for a private and confidential conversation we had with Bugri Naabu,” he said.
Supt Asare, however, resisted the temptation to divulge the “sensitive” details in public, referencing the security implications of his revelations, and urged the committee to allow him to testify in-camera.
He indicated that he also had the same intelligence that supported the assertion by COP Mensah that it was the IGP who collaborated with Bugri Naabu, the former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to tape the private conversation.
“The IGP agreed with Bugri Naabu after he (Naabu) had gone to inform the IGP that somebody wants his post and had come to him to the extent that the CV that was collected from COP Mensah and sent to Bugri Naabu by those boys are prepared to come here and testify.
“Bugri Naabu gave the CV that was intended for the appointing authority to the IGP, and I will be happy that I say more when I am in-camera,” he said.
Supt Asare said after the tape had leaked, Mr Naabu erroneously called him “Asante”.
“This Asante, per our intelligence, is a corporal or a sergeant who has been promoted to go the Police College to become Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), and it was COP Mensah who made this same ASP to go to peacekeeping mission,” he said.
How he met Bugri Naabu, Supt Asare, who has been with the police service for 27 years and now stationed at the Police Headquarters Protocol Department, identified the voices on the tape as that of himself, Commissioner of Police (COP) George Alex Mensah, and Bugri Naabu.
He, therefore, expressed surprise that Bugri Naabu would identify Supt Emmanuel Gyebi as the other person who featured in the conspiracy.
Supt Asare said on that fateful day, the three gentlemen had a meeting in Bugri Naabu’s office at Osu at the invitation of Bugri Naabu.
He said he got to know Bugri Naabu through his son, Prophet Emmanuel Teye Bugri Naabu, who was his friend and a spiritual father.
Supt Asare said he had three different conversations with Bugri Naabu in his office, with the first conversation occurring when Prophet Naabu asked him to accompany him to his father’s office.
When they got to the office, Prophet Naabu introduced him to Bugri Naabu who sought his assistance to redress a domestic issue with his househelp whom Supt Asare knew.
Following that, he said Bugri Naabu invited him to go to his house for a discussion that bordered on the NPP’s intention to change the current IGP.
He said Bugri Naabu asked him (Supt Asare) if he knew any senior police officer he could recommend to replace Dr Dampare and “I told him yes.”
The witness said he then mentioned COP George Alex Mensah, whose credentials, particularly his academic qualifications, were highly respected among the rank and file of the police service.
He said Bugri Naabu said he knew COP Mensah since he had visited him at his house at Dansoman after “some boys in Jubilee House brought him to his house.”
Supt Asare quoted Bugri Naabu as saying it was “some boys from the Jubilee House that brought him to his house and by his investigations, COP Mensah was on retirement”.
“I took time to let Bugri Naabu understand that COP Mensah is not on retirement and anybody that told him that is a liar.
COP Mensah is on his terminal leave pending retirement and that does not mean he is on retirement,” he said.
With Bugri Naabu asking him to recommend other possible police officers who could also replace the IGP, Supt Asare told the committee that he went ahead to also mention COP Ernest Owusu, COP Maame Yaa Tiwa Addo-Danquah and COP Christian Tetteh Yohuno.
“On June 19, 2023 at about 2.13 p.m., Bugri Naabu called me that there is some good news so I should come with COP Mensah but I asked him to call him since he has his number,” the witness said.
Supt Asare said Bugri Naabu went on to call COP Mensah 12 consecutive times, with the last call at 5.57 p.m.
“Chief Bugri Naabu still wanted to see me and I never knew there was any malice.
I thought that just as he called me some time ago to his house, I must go and listen to him.
“When I started walking away, I had a call from COP Mensah, my boss, who asked me where I was and that they — Bugri Naabu and COP Mensah — were waiting for me,” he told the committee.
On reaching the house, Supt Asare said the two were already engaged in a conversation and Bugri Naabu sought his opinion on the IGP, which he obliged.
Nobody contracted me to lobby
When his opinion was sought on how the IGP was appointed, Supt Asare said the appointment of the IGP was the sole prerogative of the President in consultation with the Council of State.
Asked if it was right to lobby for the IGP position, the witness said lobbying had been with man from antiquity but “I have not lobbied for anything before.”
He denied ever being contracted by anybody to lobby on their behalf, including COP Mensah.
Questioned about what role he felt Bugri Naabu could play in facilitating the appointment of an IGP, he said Bugri Naabu, a politician and National Council member of the NPP, told him during their meeting that he recommended the current IGP to the President.
“The meeting we had with Bugri had nothing to do with politics at all but he told us that there could be a possible change in the top hierarchy in the police service and it could be possible COP Mensah could get the nod,” he said, saying that “whether he was lying or not I cannot tell”.
“Granted that COP Mensah will be given the nod, I will be happy since every policeman’s dream, like a politician, is they will be an IGP one day.
“So, if a Police Commissioner who joined the service as a chartered accountant becomes the IGP, he will be happy and some of us who have worked under him and know his capabilities will also be happy,” he said.
I’ll comment on IGP in-camera
A member of the committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, asked the witness to confirm or deny the accusation made by COP Mensah against the IGP on the grounds that he was mismanaging the Ghana Police Service.
Responding, Supt Asare declined to comment publicly about the IGP’s performance but assured the committee that he was ready to do so in-camera.