General News of Wednesday, 17 February 2010
STORY: ATO KEELSON &WILLIAM BEEKO
Although the NDC government last year upon assumption of office put a freeze on recruitments into the various security agencies including the Armed Forces, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Police Service, impeccable information available to Today, indicates that the directive was flatly ignored by then Minister of Interior, Mr Cletus Avoka.
Mr Avoka, who has since lost the Interior portfolio following a major reshuffle this year, the paper's findings clearly showed disregarded the executive caveat and exploited his supervisory role over the security agencies, as Minister of Interior to facilitate the recruitment into the GIS a tall list of ninety four (94) persons, majority of whom are indigenes of Bawku and its environs including Zebilla, his home town in the Upper East region.
Today's discreet investigations uncovered that the former Interior Minister himself drove in one of the two buses that took the 94 people, also known as â€œIntake 17â€, deep in the night to the GIS training school at Assin Fosu in the Central region. The â€œnew recruitsâ€, accompanied by then Interior Minister Avoka, arrived at the training school around 1 a.m., Today discovered from its hounds. The Avoka recruits endured three months of intensive training at the Assin Fosu base.
A list titled â€˜Recruitment Intake Seventeen (17) for Asutsuareâ€™ intercepted by Today has the names and telephone numbers of all the 94 recruits. After the Assin Fosu training, the recruits were expected to join the second batch of the Commando recruits currently undergoing military exercise at the Asutsuare Training camp in the Eastern Region.
Mr Avoka tersely told Today in a telephone interview yesterday that it was too early to comment on the subject. â€œMy friend it is too early this morning, I have no comment; he told William Beeko, the deputy News Editor of Today.
Some of the names of the 94 new recruits included, Alhassan Abdul-Rauf Zebilla, Alole Robert Azebeogo, Ahmed Mugeeba Zebilla, Seidu Issahaku Adambilla, Iddrisu Sanfo Amina, Mahama Ishmael Ada, Bawa Solomon, Mohammed Fati and Isaac A. Akurugu.
Others are Azaaba Clement A. Zebilla, Ayamba Timothy, Lamin Seidu, Abubakari Adama Zongo, Abiba Talata and Ali Salifu among others.
The recruitment of the 94 persons, which took place around October 1-13 2009, our intelligence established, was not only secretly done by the former Interior Minister, but was also rushed through to avoid detection by the ordinary staff of the GIS.
As a result, Hon. Avoka ensured that his 94 persons were not taken through the due process because they were his special people. Hon. Avoka, the paper gathered, exerted a lot of pressure on the authorities of GIS to make sure that they complied with his orders of recruiting his 94 persons into the GIS.
â€œSince the selection process is expensive, we sometimes get back to these people who applied but were not recruited and then we select some of them. We even had instances where some of these people had been employed and working but were still willing to be recruited,â€ the GIS boss told Today.
On whether some 94 recruits passed out last month, Mrs. Adjei stated that what she knows is that some Liberian recruits passed out but has no idea about any Ghanaian recruits.
It was established that none of these 94 persons before their recruitments went through medical screening and body fitness which are mandatory basic requirements undertaken before one is enrolled into any security agency of which the GIS is no exception.
Todayâ€™s further checks revealed that the educational background of many of the so-called Intake 17 was nothing to write home about as they were neither verified nor checked by the GIS authorities. Some of them, it was discovered, could not even speak good English.
A source close to the GIS, disclosed to Today, that Avokaâ€™s special 94 recruits passed out on January 9th this year.
Instead on their passing out day about 50 Liberians who were sponsored by the Dutch Embassy to be trained by the GIS came to the Square [ the passing out ground] to receive their honours. The paper can authoritatively report that none of these 94 new Immigration Officers have taken the Oath of Allegiance.
The source further disclosed that the 94 recruits are expected to travel to Asutsuare in the Eastern region to be trained by the army in what is known as â€œConfidence building and enhancement trainingâ€. It is during this training that the recruits are taken through body building exercise, how to handle weapons and are trained how to shoot.
The mass recruitment into the GIS by Mr Avoka, according to our sorties, infuriated the chief of Assin Fosu when he got to learn about it. The chief, according to sources, could not believe that though recruitment into GIS last year had been suspended a single minister could bring 94 persons to be trained at Assin Faso.