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General News Sat, 27 May 2017

$4m NCA Scandal: Ministers must not meddle in such investigations – Dr. Akwetey

Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey has admonished ministers meddling in investigative processes of criminal cases and emerging scandals to desist.

This comes on the back of Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid’s revelation of a $4m embezzlement scandal involving three Mahama ex-appointees who are said to have siphoned monies for procuring listening devices from the institutions’ coffers.

Speaking on Newsfile on Joynews, Dr. Akwetey said that it is inappropriate for Ministers of state to assume the responsibilities of counter intelligence, internal security and law enforcement institutions and agencies in the country as it only results in politicization of the issues and eventually endorses the course of corruption.

Dr. Akwetey indicated that the BNI which is tasked with dealing with organized crime and providing intelligence to counter threats to national security had a sole mandate of investigating the issue when it was revealed without interruption from the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid.

“There is the investigation and who speaks to it, I think we should stop this business where the minister of information for any government speaks for the BNI because the BNI is supposed to be an arm of the Police doing professional work…so the need for the Minister to act or press the trigger for certain things to happen, things for BNI, the security, all these things are the source of the mess,”, he said.

According to him, these interferences are unnecessary since the bodies should be autonomous and be able to speak to criminal issues independently and conduct investigations without intrusions.

He explained that the interferences result in the omission of actual facts and negligence of some essentials required to bring the full issue to bare.

Dr. Akwetey urged government to focus on strengthening the various security and law enforcement agencies and guaranteeing their autonomy to ensure they work efficiently within their space without any political influences, this he says will yield long lasting results as far as the riddance of corruption in the country is concerned.

Mustapha Hamid, following the revelation indicated that processes were underway to retrieve the monies from the three former officials; Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman of the NCA; William Tevie, former Chief Executive Officer of the NCA; and Alhaji Osman, former Deputy National Security Coordinator cited in the scandal.

Reports indicate that an Israeli company, NSO Group Technology Limited was contacted to supply listening equipment at the cost of $6 million, to enable National Security monitor conversations of persons believed to be engaged in terrorism.

A local agent, Infraloks Development Limited, was reportedly also charging $2 million to facilitate the transaction, bringing the total sum to $8 million. But the three, through the said contract, allegedly withdrew $4 million from the accounts of the NCA and have failed to account for it.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com