Dutch Journalist Indicts Ex-President Kufuor, Others Of Drug Trafficking
A Dutch journalist, Sanne Terlingen who paid a short visit to Ghana and roamed around to solicit views on cases of drug smuggling has seriously dented the image of the country with her wild allegations, describing Ghana as a “narco state” or narcotic endemic country.
Her article which has been circulated in the Dutch media accused politicians including ministers of state, ambassadors; judges, police officers and other public office holders in Ghana as corrupt officials who engage in the drug trade without backing her allegations with any proof.
She has also made a derogatory claim against former President John Agyekum Kufuor as a drug trafficker, which has been considered as a defiant attack on the integrity of Ghana’s respected former president.
It is surprising to wonder what motives influenced the Dutch journalist to pursue such an agenda to tarnish the image of Ghana and its former president as well as some senior police officers, judges and politicians in the international media with such wild allegations.
The police administration and National Security must be interested in this story, which sends negative message of the country to the international community by inviting the journalist to Ghana to help assist investigations into her allegations.
“This total disregard by some unprofessional journalists to apply basic ethics in the profession must stop. The unsubstantiated allegations were unnecessary and this exposes how some foreign journalists come to African to do lazy job just to claim fame in their home country,” said Ken Afedzi, a Ghanaian freelance journalist who condemned the story as lacking fairness in journalism.
He added: “I think former president Kufuor’s office must issue a statement to condemn this lady and her story or better still sue her for bringing his (Kufuor) name into disrepute.”
The unfortunate story published in the One World magazine, a media outlet fully subsidized by the Dutch government has the tendency to destroy the cordial diplomatic relations between Ghana and Holland for the past 300 years.
Some government spokespersons in Ghana who have read the story indicated their displeasure against the publication as baseless and unwarranted by a foreign journalist to destroy the country’s image.
“The Dutch government must investigate Sanne Terlingen (journalist) in order to find the basis for her hidden agenda to make these wicked allegations against Ghana,” government communications member demanded.
The whole article has been reproduced below for readers. It was originally in Dutch and has been translated into English using Google translate.
Ghana: Model country to narco state
By Sanne Terlingen
A quarter of the cocaine coming to Europe passes through West Africa. Guinea is a known narco state, but now drug lords have even infiltrate the cabinet of donor darling Ghana. “The problem of drug trafficking through Ghana is a problem for many Ghanaians.”
”We miss Eric. We miss him so much that our stomach does hurt, like homesickness. “
Corn Farmer Abyeiku swings wildly with his left arm. His blue pesticide sprayer wobbles on his back. With his right hand he holds the load of firewood on his bike under control. He cycled straight back from his field to tell how much good Eric has done to the village of Busunya. “He built eight roads and a hospital. For nearly a hundred children, he paid school fees.” “Eric has also helped me,” said Nicholas ‘Oh Yes’ Duodo. He is better and descent. With his friend Israel he came pulling on a moped. “Thanks to Eric, my second son is now studying in London.”
Eric Amoateng (1953) sat in parliament on behalf of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), one of Ghana’s two major political parties. He represented Busunya and the surrounding district of Nkoranza North, located in the nondescript middle of the country. But since November 2005 he’s gone. He is in the United States in prison for drug trafficking. A month after he pleaded guilty, the inhabitants of Busunya named a street after him. They hung banners: “Cocaine or no cocaine, Amoateng is still our MP.”
While Amoateng street shows – the flattened dirt road next to the office party – more and more villagers were coming.. They all want to say something nice about their former director. “Are you going to write it? Good! “, Encourages an older woman. Twenty minutes earlier she refused to leave. Spread Amoateng’s name. They shouted: “Down with the whites who speak evil.
Ghana’s biggest scandal
The largest cocaine scandal in Ghana is the MV Benjamin Case. In April 2006 NACOB received a tip that a boat (the MV Benjamin) with a cargo of cocaine is en route to the port. The ship was located only after the drugs were taken aboard. 76 packs of 30 pounds were gone. The police took a package to complete it investigations. Later it became part of another ‘search’ to be.
An official investigation led by Chief Justice Theodora Wood showed that the MV Benjamin came to Ghana after 14 days, sailing between Venezuela and Cape Verde. There were two boats loaded with cargo of drugs on the deck. Back in Ghana, large and small canoes brought to the mainland the packets of drugs, where a Korean (aka Killer) and Ghanaian ( aka The Limping Man) with the help of 11 locals standing ready loaded in a Toyota. A policeman, who caught the men on the beach, left them alone in exchange for “a few dollars.” Five crew members of the MV Benjamin were sentenced a total of 25 years in prison, but the Limping Man until February 2012 continue to be at large. The brain behind the MV Benjamin Case has never been found.
A few days after the discovery of the MV Benjamin, there was a secret meeting in the house of policeman Kofi Boakye. With drug lords Tagor and Emmanuel Boakye discussed how to set up the situation. The conversation was recorded, and Tagor and Emmanuel were thus sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2009, they were acquitted after a change of political power. Boakye was never convicted. He was even appointed head of the police academy.
Currently, Emmanuel has an office in Tema. Hang on his wall were posters of fish, because “I am an ordinary fisherman, not a drug lord,” as he says. His office – with gold plated pencil boxes and a red carpet – however with ‘personal reasons’ he is heavily protected. For the entrance hang multiple surveillance cameras. Who is link with drug trafficking dares to explain, count on several calls from people. “Such rumors are bad for my fishing business.”
Scandal each year
More than a quarter of the cocaine that is snorted in Europe comes from West Africa, according to a research by the United Nations. Not that coca plants grow in Africa, the plantations are located in South America. But the drugs that entered Europe from there were increasingly being seized. Therefore cartels from Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico were looking for a new, less risky route. With old freighters, container and fishing boats and small submarines they bring their coke parties to African countries with porous borders and corrupt law enforcement. From there, the drugs go by land (through Mali and Morocco to Spain), by sea (through Ghana to Antwerp or Amsterdam) or by plane (via Ghana and Nigeria to Amsterdam or London) in smaller lots to Europe. How many pounds are there exactly smuggled through the continent is unknown? Estimates range from 30,000 to 250,000 pounds per year, with a total value of 3 to 14 billion dollars.
“Every year there is a drug scandal,” says Dr. Kwesi Aning. The media always called on the research director of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre. He’s been busy, so he wants to be alone at seven o’clock in the morning interviewed – for the rest of the country is from the springs. “In 2004, police found 675 kilos of cocaine in the cold store of a businessman with a good reputation,” said Aning. “In 2005 we had the incident with parliamentarian Amoateng. In 2006, the largest coke scandal in Ghana’s history, the MV Benjamin Case. Followed in 2009, we caught the organizer of the Ghana Fashion Week with five kilos of cocaine hidden in hollowed yams (nature roots), and last year showed cocaine that as evidence filed in court suddenly to be changed. There were alternate Director of the Criminal Intelligence Service and the then head of the narcotics unit involved. The latter was the only one with a key to the safe where the cocaine was stored. Researcher Aning: “These are the most notable incidents; you must imagine there are many undetected cases of individual drug smugglers.”
“Well, every country has its bad apples,” says a senior police request. “Cocaine trafficking is a real problem here.” Even the boss of the Criminal Intelligence Service sees no reason to drugs later put on the agenda. Ghana has a special unit to tackle drug smuggling: Narcotics Control Board (NACOB). However, the representative of the unit was not available for comment. It has just been announced that the head of security of Ghana’s main airport has been arrested in connection metheroïnesmokkel to the U.S for allegedly paying $10,000 through courier and customs. “We have a big problem in Ghana,” says Dr. Aning that afternoon at four different radio stations.
Balls on credit
Another Ghanaian living abroad was arrested, Michael. He ended up in prison ten years ago in Amsterdam. “He wanted to buy a car and working as a taxi driver, but had no startup capital. So he got cocaine packets on credit, says his sister Cecilia in a hotel in Tema port. With her pink suit she has a striking appearance. When asked whether her brother got the coke from drug lord Emmanuel, notorious for the aforementioned MV Benjamin Case, she pulls pale. She grabs her purse, slammed too much money on the table and leaves without her Fanta to drink. In the evening she sends a text message that she does not want to talk.
It was stupid to meet Cecilia in the hotel, explains a childhood friend of Emmanuel during a tour along the coast of Ghana. He points to the hotels over the last decade with dirty money from the ground pounded. The owner of the hotel in Tema flew up and down with drug lord Emmanuel. “Therefore he will always remain loyal to him, and you should not talk in his surroundings about Emmanuel.” Money is blood, so goes a famous Ghanaian proverb. “If you give someone money, it leads to an eternal bond. Drug barons use a particle of the money to help their family and their community and can count on eternal protection. “
“The problem of drug trafficking in Ghana is that Ghanaians find it not a problem,” says Dr. Kwesi Aning. “As a cousin goes to the Netherlands, remains there six months and upon returning home, the family home is repaired, building new house and buys a new car, that’s the whole family pride. It does not matter how he earned his money.”
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime less than 1 percent of the population in West Africa is addicted to cocaine. In transit countries such as Nigeria and Ghana the usage is common among men. “That is more than the benefit from trade”, emphasizes Dr. Aning. “Our health care is not equipped to cope. All those addicts’ users mostly end up in prison.”
In addition, there is a clear connection between drug trafficking and the amount of violence in a country. According to the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies the number of murders increased in Guatemala between 2004 and 2008 by 50 percent, in parallel with the volume of transmitted drug. The corruption is increasing. When Jamaica was the major drug transit port to the U.S., the country fell more than fifty places on the anti – corruption ranking of Transparency International.
Drugs baron as president
In Ghana, there is a new class of highly educated entrepreneurs’ drugs lords with warm ties with politicians, judges, police officers and officials, warned the Centre for Strategic and International Studies two years ago. Drug barons injecting cocaine money in underdeveloped areas where formal government structures are largely absent, and thus boosting the patronage machine. In exchange for his favors, the inhabitants of such territory of the drug lord loyalty and they provide him services. “The combination of criminal activities and a patronage system in Colombia and Italy led to the emergence of the mafia,” says Dr. Aning. “If this continues we will soon have a drug lord as president.”
Gloria (not her real name) confirms that years ago she broke up with a cousin of former President Kufuor because he was involved in cocaine trafficking. “I kept looking around and discovered that many more senior figures were involved in drug trafficking.” Ministers did not smuggle themselves, says Gloria. “They have their men. If such a man was arrested, then the Minister calls the police.”
There are more indications of drug trafficking by Kufuor and his associates. After the party parliamentarian (Amoateng) belonging to Kufuor’s party was arrested in the U.S., Narcotics unit: NACOB discovered that an intermediary of Amoateng ‘donations sent ‘ to the charitable foundation of Albert Dapaah, the then Minister of Communications. The minister denied any involvement in drug trafficking, but several researchers argue that the Kan Dapaah Foundation was used to wash drug money. The moment NACOB decided to open further investigations, President Kufuor changed his ministers. Kan Dapaah was promoted to Minister of the Interior, including NACOB. The investigation into matter was stopped; the officers involved were made inactive.
Also in Wikileaks cables from the U.S. Embassy in Accra is said about drug activities within Kufuor’s government. “But do not think that just walk around in this party drug lords,” warns Gloria. “Real drug dealers are not so stupid to put all their chips on a party under Kufuor, the drug lords in the large condemned MV Benjamin Case. That had to because there was international attention. Once the opposition came to power, these men were acquitted. Rare, how can that be? “
Eric comes back
On 31 January, the first meeting took place in Accra, the capital of West Africa Commission on Drugs. The committee set up by the Kofi Annan Foundation indicates a policy which African countries can enter to jointly fight against drugs.
Dr. Aning hopes that the Commission will take a good institutions and the Government under the microscope, different drugs will continue to grow in Ghana. “Government visiting Ghana, the president praises. This is because a donor darling Ghana is a model country in Africa. “The U.S. Embassy sprinkled with compliments when late President Mills during his first overseas trip subjected himself to an expanded inspection by the customs.”
And then sit same with western leaders to discuss Ghana’s growing drug problem.” That attitude bothers Aning, who noted that Mills during his reign has not addressed major drug lord problem. “I understand that politicians do not want to put their lives in danger, but Mills knew he was dying. He could have done more. Western politicians had to speak to him.
In the village of Busunya, they do not care about. There they are happy because the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has just announced that Eric Amoateng would be released on July 30, 2014. “I ‘m going to vote for him,” said Nicholas ‘Oh Yes’ Duodo excited. The same applies to farmers Abyeiku. “Now is a fellow of Eric to power, but that does – compared with Eric – very little. Two months ago, Eric’s street sign blown away. He did not even replace it.”
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