Politics

I’m innocent of all allegations – IGP tells Bugri Naabu leaked tape probing committee

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The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, yesterday told the parliamentary committee probing the leaked tape purported to plot his removal from office that he is innocent of all the “baseless, false and wild” allegations levelled against him by his accusers.

He said he was never in cahoots with the former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bugri Naabu, to record the private conversation he (Naabu) had with his accusers – COP George Alex Mensah and Superintendent George Asare.

Tears

With tears flowing freely down his cheeks early during his testimony, the emotion-gripped Dampare had to fall on the consolation of his lead counsel, Kwame Gyan, as he told the committee that the “mischievous allegations” made by his colleagues without a shred of evidence touched on his person, his family, the police leadership he leads and the entire police service.

“Those wild allegations have caused a lot of pain to myself, my family across the country, especially my wife and my children.

“The pain also goes to my Command leaders and team and the thousands of policemen who appreciate the strides that we are making to transform the organisation to be the best institution in the country and reference point for the rest of the world,” he said.

However, the badly bruised IGP, a devout Christian, still found a place in his heart to forgive his accusers, in spite of a suggestion by the chairman of the committee, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, that it was premature to do so since he still had a pending in-camera session with the two witnesses.

Defence

Appearing before the seven-member committee to respond to various allegations levelled against him earlier by COP Mensah and Superintendent Asare, Dr Dampare was defiant in his posture throughout the proceedings as he warded off the allegations in a frantic bid to clear his name and salvage the image of the police service.

Other witnesses

He gave the testimony in the presence of COP Mensah and Supt. Asare and their counsels, a development his counsel, Kwame Gyan, had objected to at the beginning of the sitting but was overruled by the committee.

Covering up shame

Dr Dampare described COP Mensah as “my big brother”, while referring to Supt Asare and Supt Gyebi as his younger brother and brother, respectively.

He said he and his accusers had been together for quite a long time as they had “beautifully” co-existed.

He, therefore, said he found it surprising that the trio could come up with wild allegations against him.

He claimed that his accusers made all those allegations in order to probably “cover up the shame associated with what they got themselves involved in in the first place”.

“And I, an innocent person focusing on my job, working in consent with my team and all commands across the country to keep the country safe and make it to be at peace with itself, have been asked to come and answer to these allegations, which are baseless.

“I feel in my spirit that this is just not fair. Are we killing patriotism that anybody can just get up and make allegations upon allegations and people who go across the country work 48 hours without sleep just to keep the country at peace will be called to come and answer allegations that are unfounded?” he asked.

No relationship with Bugri Naabu

When the Chairman asked if he had any working relationship with Bugri Naabu, Dr Dampare said he did not have any relationship with him.

He described as untrue the allegation that he was in cahoots with Bugri Naabu to tape his accusers’ conversation with Mr Naabu.

While denying that Bugri Naabu ever visited his offices, Dr Dampare also stated that the chief did not have any commercial dealings with the Police Administration.

“This is one of the falsehoods that have been put in the public domain since Bugri Naabu has no dealings and contract with the police service,” he said.

Sounding more defensive, the IGP went on to describe as another wild allegation the accusation that he possessed the original tape of the conversation between Bugri Naabu and the officers.

“Now, allegations have been made and nobody provides any shred of evidence and the allegations touch on my person even though it has nothing directly to do with me, especially about the management of the police service,” the tearful IGP said.

• Dr George Akuffo Dampare (right), IGP, answering questions before the committee. With him is Kwame Gyan (left), his lead counsel
Promotion on merit

In his opening remarks, Dr Dampare said for the 33 years that he had been a police officer, he had risen through the ranks to become the Commissioner of Police until the President honoured him with the position of an IGP.

Chronicling his career progression within the service from August 30, 1991 as a Constable to COP within a period of 24 years, he said he became Superintendent of Police at a time most of the senior officers, including COP Mensah, were Assistant Commissioners of Police (ASP).

He said within police regulations, promotions were based on the number of years one served, competence, integrity, character and availability of vacancy.

“In terms of my ranking within the police service, it has been purely based on my competencies, academic qualifications and hard work because of the passion I have for the work.

“I had not at any point in time been called aside by any individuals and granted any favour that I did not deserve,” he said.
He said it got to a time when he became the most senior policeman next to the IGP and when the then IGP retired, the President “found me worthy to take that position”.

“I work together with my colleagues and other security agencies to ensure peace, security and law in this country of ours, “he said.

Influencing election results

On the statement made on the floor of Parliament to the effect that he was the most powerful police officer to determine the outcome of elections, Dr Dampare said elections involved so many stakeholders, with each one playing unique roles to ensure successful electoral outcomes.

Thus, he said, no entity or institution had the “supremacy” to influence the conduct of an election.

“I as the IGP cannot influence the outcome of election since it is the people who choose who become their leaders,” he said.

Worst IGP

Responding to how he received the accusation of being the worst IGP the country had ever had, the IGP jokingly said:

“Probably my brother COP Mensah meant to say I am the best and he missed it because the records are there for everybody to see.”

Contrary to the accusation against him, he and the rest of the police commands across the country had committed themselves to transforming the service to become the best institution in the country through teamwork.

“So even granted that I am the worst, then all of us are the worst, including my brother COP Mensah, and I think it was a slip of tongue,” he said.

Explaining himself further, he said given the benefit of experiences he and other officers in his team had gained from their forebears and the challenges they encountered, he had the best opportunity to perform better in working with other security agencies to secure the peace the country was enjoying.

“So, it is not true that my administration is the worst; it can never be. So COP Mensah missed it,” he said, outlining 47 different interventions the Police Administration had initiated to enhance policing in the country.

For instance, he said, his administration came in at a time that so many places across the country, mainly highways and cities, were engulfed by criminal elements, particularly armed robbers, who made travelling risky for the people.

“We have worked together as a team at all levels of command and across all the security agencies to normalise the situation.

“We have stemmed the tide of residential robberies that were happening in our cities,” he added.

With the support of the Police Council and the approval of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, he said, the Police Administration had created seven more police regions to bring policing closer to the people in a manner that had never happened before.

He spoke of how police visibility had increased with unprecedented police patrols all over cities and towns so that “people have the peace of mind to live their normal lives.”

He also said his administration had established the police emergency medical intervention fund with a seed of GH¢6.1 million to ensure that every policeman who got injured in the course of duty could be sent to any part of the world to receive treatment.

“So, with anybody coming to say that you are the worst IGP is unfounded, unfortunate and I think the best the person could have done is to probably keep quiet and allow the people of this country to make a determination on us,” he said.

No promotion hold-ups

Asked if there were any hold-ups with regard to promotion of certain junior officers within the service, the IGP said there were no such hold-ups in the entire police service.

“As we speak, the structure has been that any junior officer who is four years is sent to training and they are promoted. We are waiting to have all of them promoted,” he stressed.

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