General News of Wed, 14 Jan 20044

Security Chief Speaks On Arms Controversy

National Security Co-ordinator Francis Poku has in a rare interview spoken out on the importation and clearing of ammunition that has caused so much controversy in the last week.

He told the DAILY GUIDE that the arms were "limited in quantity and aimed at executing our constitutionally-valid obligations. Nothing was hidden. Those quantities were declared and we acted as transparently as possible under the circumstances", he said.

The arms subject has dominated the headlines and every major news item to the disdain of some security experts who find the discussion of "sensitive security issues" unsuitable but the national security co-ordinator said he appreciates all the sides in the ongoing debate.

"We are accountable to the public so we don not condemn those who are critical. We do also concede that we must be put under close scrutiny. What is important is that as security agencies, we must be concerned about public perception and concerns."

Poku said very little on the arms issues in detail claiming all the issues have been exhausted. But he subtly took a swipe at past security agencies , who he claimed were sent to regions in election year to frustrate elections.

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Poku said he is aware that the public concern is over the past behaviour of certain security agencies, where some personnel were officially secretly detailed to go to some regions to frustrate the elections by beating up innocent civilians who were preparing to vote.

"We respect those concerns, and pledge to the Ghanaian public that the security service under this administration will not repeat such behaviour or conduct.

"The present administration he said will be throwing away the very best asset it has gained in its three years in power if it were to import ammunition to terrorise the citizens. Obviously a government that exists to procure instruments to terrorise innocent citizens would promote its own instability.

"On the other hand, government that fails to ensure that constitutional democratic institutions are promoted, would be failing in its fundamental responsibility. It is a delicate balancing act, and all responsible parties have a duty to help in this process", he concluded.

Source: Daily Guide

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