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Opinions of Saturday, 27 December 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

How Partisan Art Thou, Oh BNI?

The Bureau of National Investigations, popularly known to many by its acronym, BNI, was formed during the semi-tyrannical rule of J. J. Rawlings when the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) had morphed into National Democratic Congress (NDC). It was previously known as "Special Branch".

To better put across my point which forms the basis of this write-up, I should like to quote from Wikipedia the following information that better explains or highlights the core value and functions of the BNI. "The Bureau of National Investigations is the internal intelligence agency of Ghana. [1] Bureau of National Investigations |BNI is an integral part of the National Security Council which oversees matters of the counterintelligence and security of Ghana both internal security and external security.[1] The Bureau of National Investigations |BNI has investigative jurisdiction to arrest or detain and interrogate over a wide range of criminal offenses.[1]

Among the duties of the Bureau of National Investigations |BNI are dealing with organized crime and financial crime, and providing intelligence to counter threats to Ghana's national security. [1] The Bureau of National Investigations |BNI is legally a creature of, The Security and Intelligence Agencies Act (Act 526) 1996, having been continued in existence by Section 10 of that Act.[1] The BNI has undisclosed offices in all the ten regions of Ghana and internationally"

With the brief explanation of her core functions as stated above, the BNI must maintain the strictest professionalism bordering on fairness and firmness, throughout the execution of their duties. They must never be seen to compromise their value of expertise in gathering information to protecting the country, preventing the committal of major crimes and investigating crimes that can potentially compromise the security of the country or impinge on the safety of its citizenry in one way or the other. In so doing, they must not be seen to be biased or partisan, else, their very purpose and objective will have been defeated well in advance.

However, in Ghana today, some instances of investigations conducted by the BNI can be cited to prove how partisan and less meaningful the organization has become. They are clearly not fair to all. They do not treat all people supposedly falling foul of the laws fairly equally and hence are not fair to the nation as a whole, with regard to how they injudiciously selectively conduct their investigations.

Citations of a few instances to proving my allegations against them are as follows: That notorious former NDC National Organizer, Yaw Boateng Gyan, on two occasions, behaved in preposterous or criminal manners that necessitated serious investigations, but he was let off the hook. Is it imperative that the BNI mellows to all those wearing NDC badge or identity? Is it their prerogative to pick and choose which cases to investigate and which are not, depending on their political colouration?

Unless under the current NDC administration the BNI will be accused of exceeding her remit should they investigate a member of the NDC, one would expect them to have summoned Yaw Boateng Gyan for thorough investigations, but they could not be bothered.

Yaw Boateng Gyan was caught on audio recorded cassette that was made public; elaborating his evil intentions about the creation of what would have become "Yaw Boateng Gyan police". His intention for engaging the criminals, arm them, provide them with additional necessary logistics, was not only to gather information on NPP and the other rival political parties, but also, to maim or kill. All this was to do with enhancing NDC's chances of winning the then impending election 2012. The BNI never seriously investigated this case even though Yaw Boateng Gyan admitted on air to the authenticity of parts of the voice on the cassette being his.

It will again be noted that many a Ghanaian was, and still is, suspicious, about the circumstances surrounding the death of the late President Evans Fiifi Atta Mills. Many believe he did not die a natural death. This same Yaw Boateng Gyan has come out to allege that he possesses recorded tapes on people vowing to never let then President Mills go for a second term on the ticket of the NDC come 2012. In less than no time, after their secret declaration of intentions and determination, the President never lived to see the end of his first term in office let alone, contesting for a second term. He died. Yaw Boateng Gyan goes on to say, "These people who held that resolute determination are now in government or are in top positions in Ghana"

Why are the BNI not summoning him for investigations to help with finding the real cause and details about President Mills' death to quell the public suspicions about it? Who could be the culprits behind his death if at all there were any?

In numerous other instances, in what many see as their practice of selective justice and discriminatory arrests, they do not hesitate to cause the arrests of those perceived to be non-NDC people. I remember the arrest and temporary incarceration of Honourable Kennedy Agyepong when he was alleged to have incited tribal war – whether that was true or false or misinterpretation of what he meant. I remember the arrest of Ernest Owusu Bempah; alias "Aboa Apapo", when he alleged that President Mills' wife (Naadu Mills) had illegally benefited from, or fraudulently availed herself of, some money.

Not long ago, I heard someone in Ghana grant an interview to Sources radio UK online about his arrest by the police in Koforidua with subsequent summoning by the BNI branch in Kwahu. He had Facebook conversation exchanges with his friend (dating from Secondary school days) who is now a fanatic member of the NDC. He, the arrested person, belongs in the NPP family. His friend was the one who started insulting Nana Akufo Addo. He decided to retaliate by insulting the leader of his NDC party – President Mahama. The guy then reported him to the police for insulting President Mahama, providing them with printouts of their Facebook banter.

The police caused the arrest of the NPP guy. He was later summoned to Kwahu for an interview with the BNI. He was finally warned that he could lose his job since he is employed by President Mahama, the fact being he is a public service worker, a teacher of a Secondary School for the past fifteen years. He was further told the investigations were still ongoing and will be summoned again if they needed him.

He told them he is not employed by President Mahama but the Ghanaian taxpayers with President Mahama as the leader.

Cases which normally are to be dealt with by the police, and, or, treated as civil cases, are rather contrary prejudicially to reason, being dealt with by BNI as criminal cases.

When it involves anyone other than a NDC member, the BNI are quick to arrest the person. However, when it involves a person of NDC, they rather turn a blind eye to it. What do they mean by that? Are they not simply being unprofessional, biased, partisan and mischievous with a defeated objective? What else can they be, if not as just described about them?

I challenge the BNI to come clean, renouncing their current fondness for injurious practice of selective justice. Their current partisan behaviour, whether true or false, seems to culminate in their perceived or established unprofessionalism. They need to be fair and firm but not as deadly partisan and biased as they presently seem to be. Treat all Ghanaians equally before the law irrespective of their political affiliations, age, sex or social status.

Rockson Adofo