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BNI, Now A Debt Collecting Agency?

Sun, 6 Jun 2010 Source: Quaye, Stephen A.

From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

The sad story of the lady who was invited to the offices of the National Bureau of Investigations[BNI], in Accra where she met her untimely death still lingers on with the actual cause of her death yet not known.

The pregnant woman who met her untimely death at the said security offices has become a big topic for discussion as well as opening more doors for questions as to what actually caused her death.

Investigations are on going says the investigation authorities who are looking into the case but as the general public are entreated to wait for the outcome; many are those who have already started to read different meanings, assigning various causes as well as pointing accusing fingers at certain persons in the security for the lady’s untimely death.

But all aside, what has become a big issue for discussion is the blame game now being played by many Ghanaians that, the national security body should be blamed for the lady’s untimely death no matter what happened to her once she died in their office upon responding to a call.

Many are those who have shared their views and opinions on this lady’s death at the offices of the BNI and says several incidents have happened which nearly caused similar deaths and no body said anything about it and it has been ongoing therefore the authorities attention must be drawn to such manhandling to stop similar occurrences.

Some people are also saying since the days of revolution, the suppose friendly security body of the state has remain a feared institute by many Ghanaians that even by mere mention of their name sends panicking waves down the spine of certain members in the society which should not be so at all.

Well in order not to deepen the woes of the bereaved family, let us all express the hope that justice would be served the dead, the bereaved family and all who wants free and fairness in this case.

Haven said this; it must be made clear that there are so many insecurity activities going on in the security services which are threatening the full confidence of the people who are now questioning whether these protective bodies are actually for free, fair and justice provision of security for all.

The BNI as every Ghanaian is aware of is to carry out underground investigations to uncover various acts and omissions that could be best described as criminal acts, report to the police to effect arrest of those perpetrators of the criminal acts, lay charges against them and put them before court of law for prosecution to take place.

In fact in developed countries they are referred to as “plain clothe” security officers who mingles with ordinary residents to eat and drink in restaurants together, chat with guys and gals in the malls and what have you trying to source out information without one able to know whom that person might be.

Ones he is gone, he puts his pieces of information together and alert the police to take over the arrest and prosecution of any criminal acts that have taken place anywhere that some one made mention of.

Bureau of National Investigations [BNI] in Ghana was so friendly to me when I was in the country as most of the guys in the Eastern Regional head office were my friends. I never had any problem with any one of them as sometimes they called me and asked me whether really my exclusive stories were true and requested for more insight for them to carry in-depth investigations into reported cases of crimes that have taken place which have not come to their attention.

For instance when I reported series of armed robberies that took place in the regional capital Koforidua, as the robbers kept changing their tactics, I remembered one of the officers contacted me for more insight and it helped them to run off many suspects in the town. So with this typical experience I can not say the BNI officials are so bad that every one of them is bad.

However, we can not also say that they are saints and just forget of some avoidable actions and inactions certain officers in the security body have taken before which caused insecurity in the system.

As far as the BNI needs the ordinary people to work with so do the ordinary people need the BNI to live comfortable therefore there should be cooperation between the BNI and the ordinary people which has not been working perfectly and creating a lot of mistrusts causing problems in the system that needs to be addressed.

I in particular was in disagreement with the president when he first appointed Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo Lartey, as the boss of BNI. However the exhibition of true professionalism by this gentleman in handling the security body has proved me wrong. So far, his decision to remain neutral by continuing serving his position as the BNI boss and not be part of the NDC national campaign team, has earned him a lot of respect from me.

Therefore it behooves on him to sit down and double check his subordinates who have taken the laws into their own hands and terrorizing ordinary people in the system like that of the lady who met her untimely death in their office.

Lt.Col.Gbevlo Lartey, should be made aware that, there are some of his subordinates in town who have turned themselves into lawyers and judges settling cases, king makers influencing selection of successors to thrones, land guards and what have you who goes around chest out creating fear in most of the people only to tarnish the image of respectable persons like him the boss and put the service into disrepute.

Though not reminding the bereaved family of the pains and agony of the lady’s death, it has exposed one of these acts that are disgracing the security body making many to pose the question whether the BNI is now a debt collecting agency?

For instance, in Canada, when one is indebted to another person the one owed is advised to go to court and seek redress but not to use the police to terrorize the one who owes him where the court makes sure the one owing pays the debt otherwise there would not be credit cards and companies around. If it is a company it can either go to court or engage the services of a debt collecting agency to collect the money for a fee.

We are seeing the bad acts of some BNI officers today. We shall see the bad acts of some police officers tomorrow despite all the efforts of the IGP Paul Tawiah Quaye to weed out the bad nuts from the system anyway there are more lurking around otherwise there would not be another police officers extorting money from passengers after the Achimota Highway incident.

If I have any peace of advice to give to the noble man in charge of the BNI, I will ask him to check his subordinates or else all the professional touch he is giving to the service will come to not one day as their unscrupulous deeds shall over ride the good services he is rendering to mother Ghana today.

End story.

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.