The state played a dangerous propaganda game with the three South African ex-police officers, who were arrested in Ghana for offering illegal training to some members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), pundit Kweku Baako Jr. has said.
The three: Chris Hazis, 54, also known as Major Ahmed Shaik (rtd); WO/Denver Dwayhe Naidu (rtd), 39; and Captain Mlungiseleli Jokani (rtd), 45, were picked up at the El Capitano Hotel at Agona Duakwa in the Central region a couple of weeks ago.
They were said to be training 15 members of Ghana’s biggest opposition party in various security drills, including unarmed combat, weapon handling, VIP protection techniques, and rapid response manoeuvres. They were charged with false declaration and unlawful training. They were put before court on Thursday March 24. They pleaded not guilty and were each granted a GHS 20,000 bail with sureties. The BNI, however, continued to hold them in custody until their deportation.
The NPP has insisted the three were neither “mercenaries” nor “terrorists” as was alleged by some officials of the NDC, but were experts who were only training bodyguards to control crowds around the NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, during campaigning, ahead of the November polls.
Discussing the issue on Multi TV’s Newsfile programme on Saturday April 2, Mr Baako Jr. told host Samson Lardy Anyenini that he felt scandalised by the state’s breach of the law by having the BNI keep the suspects in custody despite the court granting them bail.
“If in the course of exercising the mandate [to investigate crime and to prosecute if necessary], the state itself breaches the law, I tell you that’s more serious than the perceived breach of the individual or corporate entity that the state is supposed to investigate…there was a violation of the court order,” he said.
According to the editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide, government officials and executives of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), who argue that there was no violation of any law or the court’s order by the BNI’s continued holding of the three in custody despite the bail granted them by the court “should tell that to the marines”. “I’m surprised that we have people, who have the courage, the conviction to go out there and say that: ‘No, there was no violation!’ I’m totally surprised, scandalised.”
He said the state’s defence for keeping the three in BNI custody despite the bail was “bogus”.
Mr Baako Jr. said the state’s attempt, also, to link Nana Akufo-Addo’s private security head, Captain Edmund Koda (rtd), to “a certain Serbian civil insurrection” and “jail-break” amounts to “profiling him to fit into the propaganda that had occurred outside of the court”.
“It’s the same with the STL documentation. That also is being put there as a way of creating a certain profile of subversion and it is coming from the Minister of the Interior because it was obvious now that in the realm of the court, they had no case. But in order to keep the public mind still on that propaganda capital they sought to achieve earlier, they had to go back and profile Koda …there was a conscious attempt to create a certain environment…” he added, saying the state “framed a weird wild propaganda” within the context of the current terror alert instituted after al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacked Ghana’s northern and western neighbours Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. “It was a dangerous game to play,” Mr Baako said.