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Opinions of Friday, 21 November 2014

Columnist: Ata, Kofi

Is NDC now the Narcotic Democratic Congress?

By Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK November 19, 2014

Whilst watching a documentary on the Great US President (FDR) on Sunday night, I received whatsapp message from a friend in New York on a Ghanaian busted at Heathrow Airport for trafficking cocaine. Accompanying the text was the picture of a lady with what appeared to be a Mahama campaign car. Within minutes my friend sent two other pictures that appeared to be different from the first one. I doubted the pictures to be the same person and immediately googled to find out more about the story but the only report on the web was the same story by Citifmonline but without the photos. Shortly, the friend called and we had a chat on the report and I expressed my surprise that such big news was not reported by the mainstream UK media. We were both of the view that the report could be hoax but also doubted our view since Citifmonline is reasonably a credible source. Since then, it has become clear that the report, with the exception of the diplomatic passport was accurate. This article is to discuss the drug menace in Ghana and the role of the ruling NDC in facilitating the illicit drug trade in Ghana or its complicity in this particular case.

For avoidance of any doubt, I am referring the Ghanaian or Austrian woman, Ms Nayele Ametefeh also known as Ruby Adu-Gyamfi who was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London on November 10, 2014 carrying 12 kilos of cocaine. Since Monday November 17, 2014, government officials and NACOB have made various attempts but unconvincing to disassociate the woman from any connection with government or the ruling party, NDC. They claim that the woman was not carrying a diplomatic passport but have been unable to confirm or deny that she travelled through the VIP Lounge at Kotoka International Airport. The most ridiculous and indicting statement came from NACOB claiming to have collaborated with the UK Security Agencies in effecting Ms Ametefeh’s arrest in London.

If truly NACOB collaborated with their counterparts in UK over the arrest, then it presupposes that NACOB has at least, been following the cocaine trafficker for some time (it is alleged for 3 to 4 years). If that is the case, then, NACOB should be in the know the associates and accomplices of the Ms Ametefeh, where the cocaine came from and who brought it into Ghana, etc. So, why is that since Ms Ametefeh’s arrest on November 10, 2014, not a single person in Ghana has been arrested but rather the Manager of the media house that broke the story?

Reliable source in Accra indicates that Ruby Adu-Gyamfi owns a mansion at East Legon in Accra. Since NACOB claimed to have put her under surveillance for sometime, NACOB should know where she lives and therefore should take steps to recover the property through the court under Ghanaian law. Would NACOB do that and do they know where her mansion is? Mr Akrasi-Sarpong, the gospel fact is that you and your officers have failed abysmally on this cocaine case. That gives the suspicion that some big fish within government or NDC is behind this cocaine trafficking. Why?

The explanation given by NACOB states that only one of Ms Ametefeh’s two bags were examined by security/customs officials at KIA on her departure. That means the bag containing 12 kilos cocaine was not inspected. That is bizarre bearing in mind drug trafficking from KIA is a major problem. Again, 12 kilos is too large and heavy not arouse suspicion as hand luggage that was not inspected. That leaves only one answer on why the cocaine was not detected in Accra. That is, either she boarded the aircraft with the cocaine from the VIP Lounge facilitated by a big shot within government or the NDC or in fact, the cocaine was carried to her in the aircraft by a security official facilitated by a government official or big fish from within NDC. That is easy to do in Ghana.

Why do I say either the government or NDC is involved? According to the original report on the arrest, Ms Ametefeh did not make any effort to conceal the cocaine and was very easy to detect in her hand bags. In fact, according Kweku Baako, when the bag containing the 12 kilos cocaine was brought to her on the aircraft, it was so full Ms Ametefeh had difficulty in closing the bag and that was why she took out the 2 kilos and put it in her ladies bag before she could close it and put it in the luggage compartment in the aircraft. The non concealment of the cocaine from the authorities as traffickers usually do, also suggests that Ms Ametefeh was confident that she could carry the cocaine through immigration and customs in London without any problem. That also suggests that she might have been assured that someone would be meeting her in London so she should not worry. In fact, this was not her first cocaine trip but has had a number of previous successful trips reaping million of dollars for herself and bosses. If my speculations are wrong, then Ms Ametefeh must either naive or a damn fool to think that she could go through without being arrested in London.

Yesterday, I read a comment on Ghanaweb which suggested that perhaps, NACOB preferred Ms Ametefeh arrested in London because it feared if she was arrested and tried in Ghana, the cocaine could turn into soda water or 'konkonte' and she will get away with murder as were in other cocaine cases in Ghana. I disagree with this suggestion because that would be irresponsibility on the part of NACOB. Such an approach only damages Ghana’s international image and Ghanaian travellers would be subjected hostile searches and discriminatory treatment at ports abroad.

Regarding my suspicion of NDC’s involvement (though weak), is premised on the fact that NDC has built a party headquarters costing millions of dollars. NDC initially denied building party headquarters when the story first broke out. Then, it finally admitted that, indeed, it has built a party headquarters. However, NDC has failed to disclose its sources of funding, unless of course, it was from the illegal Woyome judgement debt payments. I do not believe that Woyome alone was the source of funding but above all, percentage cuts from contracts and illegal activities including facilitating drug traffickers such as Ms Ametefeh.

Finally, the way the government (ministers and the Ghana High Commissioner in London) and NACOB handled this matter with inconsistency, unable to confirm or deny whether Ms Ametefeh passed through the VIP Longue and the manufactured NACOB collaboration fable, etc smell rat. Unless NACOB is able to use their alleged collaboration to conduct further arrests or successfully seized Ms Ametefeh/Ruby Adu-Gyamfi’s mansion at East Legon, then NACOB has failed and heads must roll. Mr Akrasi Sarpong and all the security staff on duty on the day in question should resign or be sacked. NDC must immediately and publicly declare the sources of its finances, particularly the new party headquarters. If not doubts would be raised and they would be associated with facilitating drug trafficking.

Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK