One of the billion dollar questions of the Kufour era which remained unanswered until early this week was why the then Foreign Minister, Nana Akufo Addo, was so bent on getting Parliament to pass the controversial Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill, also known as ‘The Amoateng Bill.’
The bill was to enable Ghanaians serving jail terms particularly for drug trafficking in foreign countries to be repatriated back to Ghana to continue their jail terms.
The minority NDC in Parliament at the time argued vehemently against the bill. The ordinary man on the street did not see any benefit Ghana stood to gain form that bill.
The strongest argument against the bill was why the need to bring back home Ghanaians serving various prison sentences abroad to continue their sentences in Ghana when it is well-known that there was so much congestion in the country’s prisons.
Hon. Yaw Baah, NPP MP for Kumawu called on his colleagues to be cautious about the bill because Ghanaian prisons could not accommodate more prisoners.
He proposed a transitional provision in the bill to make room for a period to allow for the expansion of prison facilities before the implementation of the bill when passed.
Yaw Osafo Maafo, NPP MP for Akim Oda said Ghana should not be made to bear the cost of transferring prisoners back home.
Clearly, there were many NPP MPs who were unhappy with the bill. Yet, Akufo Addo was determined to have it passed.
He managed to get it through the First and Second readings in Parliament. Had the NDC not won the 2008 elections, this bill may have been passed by now. Why was Akufo Addo so determined to have this bill passed?
The answer to the above question came last Monday when some newspapers revealed that on January 8, 2012, Akufo Addo attended a fundraising meeting at the Le Baron Hotel.
The thirty other persons who attended the meeting were described as drug barons and ‘shady businessmen.’
The agenda for the meeting was the need to raise funds to support Akufo Addo’s Presidential Campaign. The drug barons said at the meeting that there was the need for them to support Akufo Addo’s campaign because the NDC government under the guise of fighting the drug trade was destroying their business.
The meeting was hosted by David Anim, a known drug baron. Akufo Addo knew David as a drug baron because he was busted twice when Akufo Addo was the Attorney General. David Anim was arrested three weeks ago at Heathrow Airport when a quantity of whitish substance believed to be cocaine was found on him.
This meeting provided the answer to why Akufo Addo wanted the Amoateng Bill passed come what may.
He had friends and financers who were drug barons. He was obviously counting on many of them to fund his campaign for the 2008 elections. Ahead of the 2008 elections therefore, the best thing he could offer them for their money was security and protection once he was President.
What better way to protect them then to pass the bill so that couriers of his drug baron friends, when busted, will be brought back home to continue their sentence.
Akufo Addo’s spirited attempt to have the Amoateng bill passed was to encourage the business of his drug baron friends.
Once those who act as couriers are told that when arrested, and jailed, they would be brought back home, they would be more confident transporting the drugs around.
There is no doubt also that once those convicted drug traffickers are brought back to Ghana, they would be sneaked through the back door – they would not serve the sentence and the countries they were repatriated from will never know the truth.