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Opinions of Saturday, 15 April 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Prosecute John Dumelo for theft

By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe

I have refrained from writing about the Dumelo Car-Stealing Affair because the initial news reports regarding the same were rather sketchy and reeked of trivial overtures at witch-hunting. You see, Mr. John Dumelo is widely known as one of the most talented and successful actors of our time.

He is also known to be a quite successful entrepreneur with several businesses to his name. For this reason, I did not think that the young man would stoop so low as to get himself caught in the maelstrom of the car-stealing racket that has netted a legion of former Mahama hangers-on at the Flagstaff House and, some also claim, quite a remarkable number of political operatives associated with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) – (See “Is John Dumelo a Thief? – A-Plus Asks” / 3/28/17).

The story goes that shortly after he joined the reelection campaign of then-President John Dramani Mahama, Mr. Dumelo was afforded the use of two Toyota Land Cruisers, what Ghanaians fondly call V-8 SUVs. And then as fate would have it, both the President and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) suffered a blistering loss at the polls.

I had seen one interview that Mr. Dumelo granted the hostess of a television entertainment show on You-Tube, and thought that this handsome young man had a good head on his shoulders, as the cliché goes.

On that show, Mr. Dumelo sounded agile and suave; he would not even delve into the details of whom he was dating at the time, or the ticklish question of whether he intended to get married to his widely rumored main squeeze. It was almost as if to say “I won’t humor any busybody with my private business,” or simply “Mind your own frigging business.”

That memorable interview lingered with me for quite a while, until it hit the banner news headlines not very long ago that Mr. Dumelo had joined the Mahama Reelection Campaign Team. And then I decided that, after all, John Dumelo could not be nearly half as savvy as I had initially conceded the young man.

You see, a self-respecting and savvy businessman would readily have realized that if he wanted to stay in business successfully for quite a long time, the last thing that he wanted to meddle in was partisan politics, especially when he was also a quite well-liked actor across the board. But then, on second thoughts, I decided that the man knew best where his bread was buttered, as the old saying went.

Maybe popularity and all, the man made his bundle with the hefty support of the Mahama Posse, thus he may well be heavily indebted to the NDC-Abongo Boys, in much the same way that U.S. President Donald John Trump has been widely alleged by the media to be heavily indebted to the Putin Posse in the Kremlin.

But what is rather fascinating about the Dumelo Affair, is the report that one of the missing Flagstaff House’s V-8 Toyota Land Cruisers in his possession had been located in an auto-body shop at Abelemkpe, one of the districts of the Accra metropolis, undergoing repainting or a spray job. That was obviously one way of making it difficult, if not outright impossible, for anybody to recover this state-owned vehicle. It also clearly indicated that the man intended to keep the car in his possession in perpetuity.

Legend also has it that when the Flagstaff House’s vehicle-recovery team confronted Mr. Dumelo about a second car given to him by the Mahama Campaign Team operatives for purposes of advancing the cause of their 2016 electioneering campaign, the renowned actor claimed the vehicle to be in the possession of his girlfriend who had traveled out of town.

Then there were also reports that after initially pooh-poohing the suggestion that he was in possession of some two state-owned vehicles, Mr. Dumelo then offered to purchase the aforesaid vehicles, once he had been confronted with documents pertaining to the ownership of the vehicles.

This is obviously the cavalier attitude of a greedy but quite well-heeled and famous man who thought he could use his celebrity status to play fast-and-loose with the laws of the land.

Well, the government and our law-enforcement agencies have a bounden obligation to prove to the Ghanaian citizenry at large that absolutely nobody is above the law. Yes, Mr. Dumelo had an inalienable right to join and campaign for any leader and party that he so chose, which was exactly what he did. He, however, had no right to willfully and deliberately and criminally attempt to cannibalize state-owned property by false pretenses.

I also don’t know the real point of those claiming that Mr. Dumelo is being witch-hunted by some Flagstaff House operatives. What I clearly see here is the proverbial tune-caller being logically asked to pay the piper. And just precisely what is wrong with that?