Feature Article of Saturday, 2 June 2012

Columnist: Ghana Palaver

The In-depth Story Of A Character Groomed By A Terrorist


. The In-depth Story Of A Character Groomed By A Terrorist And Bomb-Throwing Father

From Ghana Palaver

Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey is undoubtedly a character to watch. This is because from the incontrovertible evidence-base establishment of his roots as an ungrateful ex-refugee who would have been long dead but for the magnanimity and patriotism of the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council which rescued him from the ashes of the Liberian Civil war, the other side of his ancestor(s) is another worrying phenomenon.

Of all the leading members of the NPP, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey should be the last person to comment on any issue or try to assume the moral high ground because his father , Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, was the one who organized and distributed the bombs that were thrown in Accra and which killed hundreds of Ghanaians in the late fifties and early to mid-sixties.
Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey in the 1960s when the forbears of the NPP wanted to overthrow Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, disguised himself as a farm labourer, rented a hut at Bawaleshie then a village at the outskirts of Accra, and from there distributed the bombs to the N.T. (Northern Territory) Boys who were the “bomb throwers”, namely Jacob, Abawku, Ibrahim, Samora, Akudugu and Mama.
These facts were revealed in evidence during the trial of seven persons in 1963 after the Kulungugu bomb incident in which an attempt was made to assassinate Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and after a live bomb was found on one of the accused persons, Mallam Mama Tula, at a CPP rally in Accra.
The accused persons were Teiko Tagoe, Joseph Quaye Mensah, Joseph Adotei Addo, Mallam Mama Tula, Anum Yemoah, Sulemama Jeremiah (currently working with the Greater Accra Regional Office of NADMO and seven years ago involved in the duping of the daughter of Mallam Tula, using Vice President Aliu Mahama’s name) and Madam Asaaba Quarcoo.
You want the evidence? You will find it in “A source book of the Constitutional Law of Ghana, Volume II (part 1): The Cases: 1872 through 1970”, authored by S.O Gyandoh, Jnr and J. Griffiths and cited as 2 G and G. at page 209.
The Judgement of the High Court, Special Criminal Division consisting of Arku Korsah CJ. Van Lare and Sarkodee-Addo JJ.S.C, was delivered by Arku Korsah CJ and is reported at page 209 of the book. The following is an extract from the judgement.
“The evidence before us is to the effect that a “plot” was hatched at Lome, who called themselves a “Committee of Ghanaian Refugees”. The third accused Joseph Adotei Addo was in Lome when several meetings were held by the said committee. When eventually the third accused decided to return to Accra, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, a prominent member of the committee, asked Addo to secure a room or rooms in Accra, to be used by certain unspecified persons, who were to come to Accra for purposes known to Obetsebi Lamptey and others, which turned out to be “The Bomb Outrages” in the country including the attempt to assassinate the President of the Republic of Ghana, at Kulungugu in the Upper Region of Ghana. Addo returned to Accra on 27 January 1962.
Later, at the request of Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, Malam Mama Tula the fourth accused proceeded to Lome, where after a meeting of the committee had been held, Obetsebi Lamptey requested the fourth accused to return to Accra and organize the Gas in Accra. When the fourth accused replied he could not organize the Gas, because he is an Hausa man, one Amandi, a Member of the said committee, and an ex-Member of Parliament, promised to recruit “Northern Territories boys” to come to Accra for the purpose they had in view.
Sometime later, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, came to Accra, and in May 1962 Addo, the third accused, was taken to see Obetsebi Lamptey where he was apparently hiding in a small swish two-room structure which the fifth accused had for the use of his labourers on his poultry farm. It was in this place near Bawaleshie not far from Accra that the conspiracy in Ghana is said to have taken place. At this meeting Obetsebi Lamptey informed Addo that he (Obetsebi Lamptey) had returned to Ghana for certain operations, and asked Addo to tell United Party (UP) members that something would happen in Accra and if it did, they should all co-operate. After this, certain persons referred to in the proceedings as “N.T. boys”, and believed to be the “bomb throwers”, namely, Jacob, Abawku, Ibrahim, Samora, Akudugu and Mama, were found in an accommodation by Addo, the third accused, at Odorkor, a suburb of Accra.
A few days later, Addo, the third accused, Malam Mama Tula, the fourth accused, together with the six N.T. boys attended a meeting at Obetsebi Lamptey’s hideout, at which according to the third accused, Adamafio, Ako Adjei, Cofie Crabbe, Lamptey alias Odartey, the two other persons were present, whereas according to the fourth accused, Adamafio, Ako Adjei, Cofie Crabbe, Kweku Boateng, Krobo Adusei and Ofori Atta were present. It is needless to say that in these proceedings we cannot, and indeed we do not, make any findings in respect of these six persons, and others, whose names have also been mentioned, but who are also not charged before this court. At the said meeting, eight hand grenades were produced and together with the sum of 200 Great Britain pounds were handed over to Obetsebi Lamptey to be used in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The evidence of overt acts in furtherance of the common purpose to overthrow the government by unlawful means may be summarized as follows:
1. Procuring and producing hand grenades and pistols for the purpose of being used in the intended overthrow of the government.
2. Preparations to assassinate the President, a) at Tema, b) in the precincts of parliament house in Accra, and c) at Kumasi in the month of July 1962.
3. The attempts to assassinate the president at Kulungugu on 1 August 1962 where a hand grenade was thrown at him, resulting in the death of some people and serious injuries to many others.
4. The throwing of a hand grenade on 9 September 1962, into a crowd assembled at Dodowa villas, near flagstaff house, the residence of the president, killing and injuring many people.
5. On 6 September 1962, a hand grenade was thrown at the residence of Mr Abavana, a cabinet Minister.
6. Hand grenade thrown on 20 September 1962, near Lucas house, Accra, into a procession of members of the Convention People’s Party, the government party in connection with the celebration of “the President’s birth Day”, known as “Founder’s Day”, killing and injuring many people.
7. Hand grenade thrown at Chorkor in Accra, on 6 November 1962, at a rally of the Convention people’s Party where some people were injured.
8. Hand grenade thrown into a crowd of merry makers, after the close of general get-together of the Convention People’s Party members, at the stadium in commemoration of the positive action day that is 8 January 1963.
9. On 22 January 1963, when Teiko Tagoe, the first accused was arrested, he was armed with a hand grenade at Bukom square in Accra, at a rally held by the Convention People’s Party.
This murderer, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, has had a circle in Accra named after him, which circle was refurbished at a cost of billions of cedis by her son, Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, when President Kufuor appointed him to the dubious position of Minister of Tourism and Beautification of the capital city.
Again because of this murderer, and Edward Akufo Addo, the father of NPP Presidential candidate, Nana Akufo Addo who served as a chief justice and chairman of the constitutional commission of the traitorous National Liberation Council (NLC), the gang of military and police subversives who overthrew Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP government in February 1966, their portraits now adorn our currency notes as members of the so called “Big Six”, courtesy of the NPP government.
And Jake Obetsebi Lamptey dares to appropriate a state bungalow for himself after all these dastardly acts his late father committed in Ghana. Shame unto him.

Ghana Palaver

By Tetteh Amedjoe

Aesop was famous with the Greek and the then civilized world for his fables. Hans Christian Anderson also attained fame with his fairy tales. Their writings were full of moral lessons which have stood the test of time.
We Africans also had our great thinkers. It’s a pity, however, that many of their sayings were not documented. Their sayings are however carried in folksongs, folktales and proverbs. These cover all aspects of life: admonition, courage, sorrow and you name it.
“If the animal escapes today, tomorrow is still a hunting day…the chick which digs too deep into the ground is likely to find its mother’s skeleton”. The Ga Dangme have a saying: “k? onukpa he?m?i akw? mli” which means “scrutinize it with adult eyes”. It comes from a story about some children who were playing in the suburbs. While they were deeply engrossed in their games, an elderly man passing by “arrested” a fowl from the weeds nearby and put it into a sack.
One of the children saw him perform the act and raised the alarm. As expected all the other children rushed to the man shouting “he’s stolen a fowl”. Obviously embarrassed by the children’s taunts, the elderly walked up to another grown up man who was attracted to the scene by the shouts of the children and asked him “scrutinize his sack with an elderly eye to see if he has stolen a fowl”.
The elderly man’s judgment was that there was no fowl in the sack. Period. This story came to mind when our Supreme Court by a 6-3 verdict pronounced on the Jake bungalow case last week.
Two “children”, Sammy Okudzeto-Ablakwa and Omane Boamah had “shouted” that Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey has inappropriately acquired the official residence given to him by the state when he served in various positions under the Kufuor regime.
After a lot of tussle over the matter in lower courts, the case was taken to the highest court in the land to be considered. A first round came which appeared to favour the “children”- a situation which could be likened to the elderly man walking towards the scene. The children in that situation felt justice will be served because of the confidence they reposed in him because they were sure he had stolen the fowl.
They were disappointed with the man’s verdict yet could not complain because it came from a grown-up arbiter. The same “pomade” has been smeared on the two deputy ministers who sent the Jake bungalow case to the Supreme Court.
Unlike the children’s case however, the Supreme Court judgment has not gone down well with the moral society, because it goes to set a precedent which when allowed to prevail could lead to a situation where state property could be taken with careless abandon by public officials when they so desire.
The brief background to the genesis of this whole matter is that somewhere in 1999 or thereabout, a decision was taken by government that some of the lands in prime areas of the capital, which had been used to build small bungalows by our British Colonial masters, should be sold for better development and proper utilization of those vast plots.
That decision received some hiccups because the land owners (particularly the people of Osu, La, etc) took issues on their being short-changed in payments for their lands. The dicey nature of the matter grounded the implementation of the Accra Re-development Scheme to a halt. With the passage of time the agitation seemed to have abated so the Kufuor administration decided to start its implementation and they see “beautifully”.
In the first place, the general public was not informed about the re-activation of the scheme and the list of the “beneficiaries” of the sale of those Canaan lands has been very revealing. It has come to light that the names on the list can pass for nothing else but that of NPP circle of influence. Ministers of state, party executives, parliamentarians, judges (with political colours), media men, families, cronies, wives and concubines all benefitted.
The most painful aspect of the whole matter is the prices they allegedly paid for those prime lands, with some of them being far lower than what people will pay for lands along Korle lagoon in the dry season. One can easily and rightly so conclude that the whole exercise was a deliberate loot of public lands by the Kufuor government.
It is against this background that most Ghanaians are appalled by the endorsement given by the Supreme Court to the acquisition of the Independence Avenue facility by Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey. But do we blame them? As stated earlier some of them are themselves beneficiaries of that loot and nobody will want to play the biblical Samson by pulling the whole building down on themselves if they ruled against the arbitrary sale of the state lands.
Since independence in 1957 judges of the Supreme Court have always tried to carve a niche for themselves in the discharge of their duties especially the females. Justice Annie Jiagge remains a great name in the annals of our judicial history.
Justice (Ayitey) Abban, do you remember him? That is the name Justice I. K Abban won for himself for standing up to Col. I.K Acheampong when he refused to change public judgment/interest over the UNIGOV referendum. How would those on the Supreme Court wish to be remembered by posterity?
Some Ghanaians have special meanings for the word “private”. Private Secretary is a personal assistant who knows all the secrets of the boss. Private car belongs to the “I drive myself” class. There is another important interpretation for “private” or small room. It is the washroom or toilet. This is where we enjoy our real privacy and where we take sober reflections on our actions and inactions.
Will our judges judge themselves to have worked for the public good in the Jake bungalow case? Max Romeo’s “Is there hope for us?” was playing while I put the last dot to end to end this piece.