Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo, a member of the Vetting and Election Committee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the weekend revealed that Paul Afoko, who is contesting the NPP National Chairmanship race was cleared by Interpol, settling a needless brouhaha over his clearance.
According to Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, he personally received a telephone call from the Director of Interpol Ghana who said the allegations against Mr. Afoko were “negative”. Armed with that verbal response from Interpol Ghana, the Committee, according to Mr. Otoo, gave Mr. Afoko the green light to contest the elections, contradicting earlier claims by Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah Secretary to the Committee who insisted Afoko’s clearance was not based on any Interpol report.
“That same day, we decided to act on it, even when we had not seen this (intercepted) final report”, Mr. Otoo revealed on Joy Fm’s Newsfile last Saturday via a telephone after Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of The New Crusading GUIDE had read portions of the Interpol report on Mr. Afoko which the paper had intercepted.
An NPP stalwart and former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, who was on the panel also said the party’s Vetting Committee had not been fair in keeping such an important document away from the public if indeed it had received the report.
However, Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo responded that “it is never true that this report has been sent to us” and insisted that he heard it from the Interpol Ghana boss only through verbal communication. Baako, in his submission, had indicated that it was possible that the intercepted Interpol document had not been formally delivered to the party’s Vetting Committee.
Mr. Otoo further disclosed that the Committee proceeded to tell Mr. Afoko of his clearance by Interpol but when The New Crusading GUIDE contacted George Duker, a member of the Afoko campaign team, he stated that, “the Committee did not mention Interpol. They said they had a response from the British Authorities who said they did not know him (Afoko). Per what the learned Lawyer Otoo said on Joy Fm, it means that the British Authority was the Interpol”.
The intercepted Interpol report dated Monday, March 10, 2014, is tagged as RESTRICTED with the Subject as BACKGROUND CHECK –AFOKO PAUL AWENTAMI 31/08/1954. It was from IP Manchester to IP Accra.
The Manchester office of Interpol responding to a request from Interpol Accra dated February 2, 2014, stated that: PLEASE BE INFORMED THAT WE HAVE SEARCHED OUR RECORDS (NAME AND DOB ONLY) FOR THE ABOVE NAMED SUBJECT AND RETURNED A NEGATIVE RESULT. IF YOU REQUIRE ANYTHING FURTHER, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US.
Mr. Afoko’s bid to contest the party’s Chairmanship race was challenged after one David Gyasi of both Accra and London petitioned the Committee. After three weeks of bated breath, the Committee cleared Mr. Afoko but it generated controversy on whether the party did so on its benevolence or on any report from Interpol which was supposed to act on the allegations contained in the petition.
It became murkier when Mr. Korsah in an interview on NEAT Fm, an Accra based radio station that, “…what I do know is that, in the name of the NPP, the Vetting Committee made a request to the Interpol. No matter the outcome of that information, certain response is expected from Interpol, officially. Whether it is negative, it is positive or even if it would not be granted, some correspondence must come (from Interpol)…as I speak to you, that has not happened”.