BNI is truly in bed with the NDC


Wed, 13 Jul 2016 Source: Ebo Quansah

I am told through a thorough surf job on the world-wide net yesterday, that the state of Ghana forks out between US$2 billion and US$4 billion annually, to service the Bureau of National Investigations and its work-force, standing at an amazing 20,000 personnel dotted all over the country.

I must be honest, I have not been able to obtain any confirmation or, otherwise, from the security agency itself.

Knowing the secretive nature of the way sums are worked out in state security circles, I have not really taken the trouble to approach Mr. Pious Awelinga, who took over from Mr. Yaw Donkor, who himself has been posted to the Castle annex, opposite the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, to replace the Rambo-style leadership of the entire national security apparatus by Lt-Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, in May 2014.

What I can state without equivocation is that, if the US$2 billion-US$4 billion expenditure represents anything approaching the truth, then it is frightening that such an amazing chunk of dwindling national resources is sunk into sustaining the bureau.

I hope nobody is going to label me anti-security. My beef is that if such a huge chunk of the national budget goes into the operations of the BNI, then this nation and its citizens have the right to expect better services from the BNI, than what many people perceive as a deliberate ploy to safeguard this moribund administration.

Mr. Awelinga and his personnel need to kick above the partisan tag it has acquired of late. If you talk to the average Ghanaian on the street, the notion you get is of a bureau that has lost its way and become the protective wing of the Government of President John Dramani Mahama and the party that props it up. I am referring to the National Democratic Congress of course!

At tea-time on Thursday, as the British would say (about 4 pm in Ghana), the Bureau of National Investigations issued a statement that from where I sit, defies every logic in the rule-book.

According to the national security outfit, it had interrogated the two ‘Montie’ FM panelists, who are penciled in to face the Supreme Court today, to answer a charge of contempt against them, for allegedly putting the lives of judges of this nation’s highest court, in danger.

When I read the BNI statement, I felt scandalized as a Ghanaian. The BNI says it had interrogated the two pro-NDC activists and “established that the suspects were incapable of carrying out their pronouncements, but did so in a show of bravado.”

There cannot be any prizes for guessing accurately what the BNI verdict on the two suspects- Alaister Tairo Nelson, 41, and Godwin Ako Gunn, 39, is intended to achieve. For me, this plea has deliberately been entered, in the name of the two persons, to act as a defence in their impending contempt trial, today.

The two suspects, according to the summons, are to appear before the Supreme Court, to show why they should not be thrown into prison for threatening the lives of judges in the country.

What made the threat even more serious is that, it was issued on the eve of the 34th anniversary of the callous abduction and murder of three judges and an army officer by overzealous agents of the Provisional National Defence Council, headed by Flt-Lt. Jerry Rawlings, on June 30, 1982.

Incidentally, the BNI, which claimed the official statement that it had arrested and released the duo said: “The arrest was premised on the fact that their comments were considered provocative, inflammatory and unacceptable, and had the potential of creating security challenges.”

Read the BNI statement further: “In arresting the two, the BNI took into consideration the current volatile security situation in the country, as we inch towards the 2016 elections.”

The BNI, this nation’s leading agency for internal and external security, emphasized that, during the interrogation the two suspects admitted making those provocative statements and acknowledged that their remarks were regrettable and unfortunate.

I do not believe this BNI deserves to be paid that huge sum to exhibit their partisan badge. The security agency is a disgrace to the dignity of this nation and needs all officers removed.

I premise my deduction on the kind of statement the BNI issued on Thursday, as well as the general conduct of its officers in recent times. What I do know is that this administration would never remove those officers who are protecting those speaking through their hats, in defence of the Mahama administration.

I know too that time would soon catch up with those officials who think this NDC administration is forever. The fact that BNI would plead on behalf of those beating war drums in “a volatile atmosphere” tells everything about what has become of our BNI.

I am declaring to all and sundry that I, Ebo Quansah of EKumfi Ekrawfo, has dropped all respect I have for BNI and its officers. I am dead serious. It is annoying to read the following statement from the state security apparatus.

“The BNI further observes that this far, several electronic and print media outlets have become notorious for their intemperate vituperations, personal attacks and outright insults, among others. This is a serious security concern that we will not allow festering.”

If the end to volatile utterances lies in protecting those carrying out threats on our judges, then God save this country. I do not need to invite any expert to lecture me on the role the BNI has assigned itself, as we meander the curve towards the 2016 elections.

From its role in the handling of the suspect in the heinous murder of Mr. Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, through the arrest of the three South African security capos who were in the country to train the security details of the New Patriotic Party Presidential candidate and his running mate, to the alleged raid on the Danquah Institute, the impression one gathers is of a security agency in a hurry to do one political party in, as a means of boosting the chances of its main rivals in the November 7 polls.

The brazen manner in which the three South Africans -Major Chris Hazis (rtd), 45, Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe Naidoo, 33, and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani, 43, were forcibly taken away from a court of competent jurisdiction which had granted them bail, tells of an outfit which has no respect for the rule of law.

Naturally, officials of the NPP were furious. They accused the BNI of doing the bidding of a failed administration and employing the intimidating powers of state security to foist itself on the people of Ghana.

At a press conference in Accra, acting party boss, Freddie Blay, said the BNI was in bed with the Mahama administration to frustrate the largest opposition party. And that the unlawful act contrived by BNI was to deliberately expose the flagbearer of the NPP to harm.

The BNI also took a flak from the general populace over a raid on pro-NPP Danquah Institute, on the flimsy excuse that it was looking for documents on the three South Africans.

The treatment meted to NPP’s security capo, Capt. Edmund Koda, who was kept in detention long after the South Africans had gone, further raised tempers at the Asylum Down head office of the NPP.

Now, the cat, a very fat one indeed, is out of the bag. Trust not the BNI to be impartial. The BNI is behaving like an arm of the NDC and should be scrapped.

Like the case of the BNI and the ‘Montie Duo’, I am incapable of carrying out the threat of disbanding the organization.

All I can do is to hope and pray for those capable of effecting the necessary changes at the BNI head office, to make it a truly independent security organization committed to an impartial job.

I am afraid Mr. Pious Awelinga and his BNI capos cannot represent the interest of all Ghanaians. If you ask me whether it is worth sinking a whopping $2billion to US$4 billion annually into an institution that picks and chooses those it should protect, my answer would be a big NO.

I now know. While the BNI would serve opponents of this moribund regime to the wolves, it knows how to protect those putting the lives of judges in danger in the name of cowing them to submit to the whims and caprices of an administration that has clearly lost its way. My thumb will serve me well on November 7.

I shall return!

Columnist: Ebo Quansah