Wikileaks: NPP Harboured Drug Barons
As Kufuor fired NACOB staffs for aiding Amoateng’s arres.
Whilst ‘the west’ was becoming worried about the growing drug trade in Ghana amidst concerns by critical media and opposition figures about the damage of the country’s reputation on the international front as far as illegal drug was concerned, the Kufuor led NPP government was busily protecting the operations of the drug traffickers.
Wikileaks reports on the US diplomatic cable reveals that the government was rather upset with NACOB for cooperating with the United States government on the case, which resulted in NPP MP Eric Amoateng’s guilty plea and subsequent imprisonment in the U.S.
“Recent conversations with the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Ghana Police, and diplomats have revealed little confidence in (NACOB) and GoG efforts to battle the flow of narcotics” the report noted. According to the report, instead of applauding NACOB for helping to salvaging Ghana’s reputation by helping to arrest a drug barron, Eric Amoateng , the government rather removed all the high ranking officials at post during in the wake of the arrest.
As a result, “no one at NACOB wants to rock the boat, including the new director, Ben Botwe, who lacks experience with narcotics enforcement” . An undisclosed high ranking official at NACOB confided in the US embassy in Accra that the government of Ghana had officially neutered NACOB since the embarrassing arrest in the U.S. of the NPP MP, Eric Amoateng in 2005. “This official, who has worked for NACOB for several years, said that the GOG has effectively neutered NACOB since the embarrassing arrest in the U.S. of NPP MP Eric Amoateng in 2005” stated the wikileaks report. According to the cable,” the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) under the NPP government appears to have little clear direction or initiative, and one NACOB official told us he suspects some drug barons have penetrated NACOB. Yet the secretary to the then President Kufuor, told US officials that there was no one he can trust in law enforcement to share sensitive narcotics informantion.
So perverse was the government’s inaction that the The British Government was considering ending its successful Operation Westbridge project at the Accra’s international airport”
The cable referenced 07ACCRA2140, noted that “the situation has generated substantial frustration among officials working to combat trafficking, and as one GOG official told us, the GOG must &wake up soon to the narcotics trade before it is too late”.
The report revealed that instead of going after the drug barons, who were known to them, the NPP administration policy was to go after the curriers who were mere messengers. In a secret conversation with diplomatic officials, the then appointed new NACOB boss disclosed his frustration and his readiness to quit the job. In a recent conversation with poloff, he suggested he is ready to move on. He has made similar comments to our British colleagues and the senior official at NACOB confirmed these sentiments. Despite his apparent desire to leave, it appears that Botwe will remain for at least another year since he was asked by the President to assume this role.
“The current policy, he said, is to go after couriers, but not the barons who are behind the deals. The official claimed the barons are generally large supporters of the NPP and he suggested that the ruling party has no plans to pursue these individuals even though many of their identities are known”. The report suggests that as far back as 2005, NACOB was aware that some of the barons have penetrated NACOB by recruiting NACOB officers to keep them informed but the NPP had done nothing to smoke them out. The deep-throat NACOB official who spoke to the US officials also said that the British, with andOperation Westbridge at the Accra Airport, are the only real forces attempting to apprehend smugglers. Leadership at NACOB is clearly lacking. “Everyone Emboffs spoke with concerning Ben Botwe, the current head of NACOB, had little positive to say. He has spoken frequently about awareness programs, and his comments have changed little since our first meeting with him in June”
In a separate conversation, Alphonse Adu-Amankwah of the Ghana Police, questioned whether the GOG leadership has the political will and human and financial capital to combat the drug trade. He said the GOG must wake up and recognize the severity of the problem. He also said he has repeatedly warned GOG officials of the ever-increasing narcotics flow but said they do not listen. The politicians, he said, do not realize the level of violence and crime that will occur should the drug trade continue to increase. He also noted that the GOG is creating a new unit to focus on the drug trade.