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Opinions of Saturday, 26 May 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

“Show Tehoda” Must Go On!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I have been following the case cats-and-dogs, if, indeed, there were any such idiomatic expression in the English language within the context of its present usage. And it reads intriguingly like a fairy tale; except, of course, that this is a real story that occurred in the waning months of the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government. And to be certain, until the Woyome scandal broke, thanks to Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyepong, the besieged NPP-Member of Parliament for Assin-North, every indication pointed to the fact that some key operatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) aimed to play it to the greatest effect, with the sole purpose of indelibly tarnishing the image of former President Kufuor and his legacy.
The simple plot of the story entails the deft, albeit immitigably vicious, and almost miraculous transformation of 1,020 grams or 1.02 kilograms of forensically proven cocaine into sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. This is where a Deputy Superintendent of Police called Ms. Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda comes in (See “Free Tehoda, Lawyer Tells Court” 5/20/12).
DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, until her indictment on the criminal charge of aiding and abetment in the aforesaid case, was deputy head of the Commercial Crimes Unit at the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) headquarters in Accra. The contraband involved is alleged to have belonged to a “been-to” Ghanaian woman by the name of Nana Ama Martin; in some versions of the story, Nana Ama’s last- or surname is given as Martins, instead of Martin. The latter is alleged to have been arrested in connection with the 1.02 kilograms of cocaine on August 22, 2008. She would escape from prison custody and reappear later, after allegedly being assured by her protectors in law enforcement that the judicial process had been deftly compromised and rigged up in her favor.
What is also intriguing about the case, we are told, is that upon her first reappearance in court, Ms. Martins and her lawyer had been presented with the alleged criminal evidence and had assented to the validity of the same. It was only on the second day that the suspect’s lawyer had asked for a retesting of the forensic evidence, only for judge and prosecutor to discover to their chagrin and horror that, indeed, they had no case at all; and that like a bunch of lunatics, they had been vigorously and wrong-headedly prosecuting Ms. Martins for allegedly possessing exactly what the proverbial baker requested.
Indeed, matters would probably have ended on the preceding note, but for the timely intervention of Vice-President John Dramani Mahama who ordered the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to enquire further into the mysterious disappearance of the alleged contraband. And now a state attorney by the name of Rexford Wiredu has, reportedly, told the court and the Ghanaian public that given ample time, he should be able to credibly reconstruct a vivid narrative systematically detailing precisely how the original 1,020 grams of cocaine was converted into its exact weight in sodium bicarbonate, with the help of several close relatives of the Nana Ama Martins.
The sole grievance of Mr. E. A. Vordoagu, the lawyer for DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, is that a case that has been adjourned eleven consecutive times, largely for personal and professional reasons having to do with prosecutorial lack of preparedness, may not be worth prosecuting, after all.
On the face of it, Mr. Vordoagu may definitely have a point, particularly when one also factors in the prohibitive cost of the apparently unnecessary delays to the Ghanaian taxpayer. The problem here, however, is that if the case gets disposed of and the criminal suspect is summarily discharged, who then takes up the remarkably humongous tab or expenditure involved? And would it not be appropriate then for the defense to file a counter-suit charging the prosecution with inordinate abuse of power? And could not DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda then not be able to sue for a defamation of character and actually win both a lot of money, in a civil suit, and also get her old job back? For already, Lawyer Vordoagu is bitterly complaining about his client having been undeservedly humiliated. And then, what would the latter imply in terms of the professional integrity of the personnel of the Ghana Police Service?
Needless to say, if we rightly understand Mr. Rexford Wiredu, the state attorney, or government’s lawyer, to be claiming that, indeed, DSP Tehoda is a veritable criminal whose culpability can readily be established beyond any shadow of doubt, then, I say, Madam Chief Justice Georgina Wood, by all means, let “Show Tehoda” proceed without let or hindrance.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture” (, 2004). E-mail: