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General News of Saturday, 26 January 2008

Source: Palaver

Palaver: Fallout from the National Security Minister Dismissal

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He is not in South Africa

The reason for the “invasion” of his house

— BNI Financial Controller arrested and detained

For the second time in his life, the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minister of National Security, Mr. Francis Poku, has fled into exile in the United Kingdom.

According to very reliable sources, Mr. Poku outwitted the entire National Security apparatus, managed to disguise himself and sneaked through the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border at Elubo and boarded a flight from Abidjan to Paris from where he connected to London, UK.

The first time Francis Poku went into exile, also in the UK, was in 1982 following the Second Coming of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings and the establishment of the PNDC Government.

At that time, Mr. Francis Poku, who was the Greater Accra Regional Director of the then Special Branch (now BNI), felt his life was in danger as the officer who, under President Hilla Limann, had put President Rawlings and Captain Kojo Tsikata under 24-hour overt and covert surveillance and hounded them to the extent that High Court Judge Justice Roger Korsah declared his actions unconstitutional.

Mr. Francis Poku stayed in exile for close to twenty years and only returned to Ghana when the NPP came into power in 2001.

The “invasion” of Francis Poku’s house Your authoritative ‘Ghana Palaver’ has also learnt the real reason for the military/police invasion of Mr. Poku’s house last week.

According to our usually reliable sources within the Presidency, Francis Poku was ordered by the President to appear before a 5-member Committee on Monday January 14, 2008 to sign an undertaking that he would not divulge any information to any person or body following his dismissal.

The Committee was made up of the following persons: * Kwadwo Mpiani – Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs; * Professor Daniel Adzei-Bekoe – Chairman of the Council of State and Chairman of the NPP Presidential Candidate Aspirants Vetting Committee; * Reverend Bishop Palmer-Buckle – Catholic Archbishop of Accra; * 2 Others. According to the sources, Francis Poku flatly refused to attend the meeting or to sign the undertaking. He also threatened that if there was any attempt to arrest him, “etuo beto” (“there will be a shootout”).

This was what led to the invasion of his house and the confrontation that ensued. The invading police force, our sources say, had instructions to drag him to “Australia House” where he was to be made to forcibly sign the undertaking.

However, the timely action of Messrs Kwesi Pratt Jnr and Owula Mangortey in blowing the matter on the airwaves even as the action was on stayed the President’s hand and forced him to dispatch the Chief of Defence Staff General J. B. Danquah to Francis Poku’s house to cool tempers down.

BNI Financial Controller Arrested In what may be a related development, ‘The Ghana Palaver’ has learnt that the BNI Financial Controller, one Mr. Agyei, was arrested last week Sunday (a day after the dismissal of Francis Poku) and placed in BNI cells for three days. He has since been moved to an unknown destination.

These developments lend themselves to many questions among which are the following: * How did Francis Poku manage to outwit all the security agencies and escape to La Cote d’Ivoire to flee to the UK?

* Given this porous nature of our national security, is it any wonder that shiploads of our crude oil have twice been stolen from the Saltpond Oilfieds under the very noses of the security agencies?

* Why was Reverend Bishop Palmer-Buckle involved in this very bizarre security incident? Is he an adviser to President Kufuor or does he serve the NPP Government in some unknown capacity?

* Is the arrest and detention of the BNI Financial Controller Mr. Agyei connected with Francis Poku’s dismissal and is it therefore legitimate to read some financial shenanigans into the whole Francis Poku dismissal episode? Stay tuned!

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