'We know T'di girls whereabouts' comment 'wasn't my decision', 'it was collective' – CID boss
The Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, COP Maame Tiwaa Addo Danquah, has said that her announcement to the public via a press conference that the police knew the whereabouts of the three kidnapped Takoradi girls was not a unilateral decision taken by her but rather a collective decision taken by the various security agencies.
According to her, that announcement could have been made by anybody at all within the security hierarchy of the country, noting that it just happened to have been made by her.
"We know where the girls are", COP Addo Danquah told journalists on Tuesday, 2 April 2019, and urged the families of the three girls to "keep on keeping on".
"It's taken us over three months to even identify where the ladies are, and what we don't want to do is do anything that will jeopardise the safety of that. So, we are working very hard. All the stakeholders supposed to be on board are on board and hopefully, the girls will be brought back safe and sound", she added at the April press conference.
A month after that announcement, COP Addo Danquah made a U-turn on Atinka TV saying she only made the announcement to “give hope to the police” in locating and rescuing the girls, who have now been missing since August last year.
Four months after the announcement, the girls have still not been found or rescued. COP Addo Danquah has come under an avalanche of flak as a result of the gaffe with some critics asking for her resignation or removal from office.
However, explaining why she made the announcement at that time, COP Addo Danquah, who was speaking at the maiden Commonwealth Speaker Forum in Accra on Wednesday, 14 August 2019, said there was pressure from the public and the affected families for updates from the police on the kidnappings, hence the decision for the press conference.
According to her: “At that time, we decided – and let me make this thing clear – it wasn’t my decision. It was a collective effort involving other state law enforcement agencies that had come together to follow up on the leads to find our missing girls. So, the press conference could have been addressed by anybody at all from the Ghana Police Service or any of the state institutions that had come together to look for the girls”.
She said it was the information the security agencies had at the time, and “we believed same to be true and we followed up and from the assurances that we got, we were very sure that the girls were really there and they were helping us to bring them to safety”.
She said a lack of information flow could lead to speculation and conjecture, “so, it was something that then, we thought it was the best thing to give information to the public as to where we were then”.
She, however, insists that her resignation from office is not what will bring back the three, as being demanded by her critics.
“When you have everybody calling for your resignation and other things, the question you need to ask is: Is that what will solve the problem?”
“There is a problem for us to solve and that is my focus”, she told the forum.
She said: “I have to focus and bring whatever situation we have to the conclusive stages not to waste time thinking about whether you want to resign or you don’t want to resign.
“So, when it is time for me to leave, I will leave because somebody was there and I am here and another person will be here.”
The missing girls are 18-year-old Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, last seen on 21 December 2018; 21-year-old Priscilla Blessing Bentum, last seen on 17 August 2018; and 18-year-old Ruth Love Quayson, last seen on 4 December 2018.
Just last week, the CID retrieved some skeletons from the backyard of the prime suspect in Takoradi, Western Region. A team of forensics experts are conducting DNA tests on the skeletons to ascertain if they are the remains of the three girls.