Castle Boys Thrown Out

Gbevlo-Lartey - Security CoordinatorFIFTY-TWO SERVING officers of the security services, and their families, have been served a notice to immediately vacate their official places of residence or risk being forcefully thrown out by the Atta Mills government, by May 20 this year.

The officers, who have nowhere to go with their wives and children, have become distressed over the shocking notice.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that there are no plans to relocate or transfer these officers and their families, rendering them destitute, with some taking up accommodation in the Police Information Room at the Headquarters in Accra.

Incidentally, all the affected officers served under the Kufuor Administration and there are perceptions that they are being victimised because of their services to the nation under the previous administration.

They include officers from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), National Security,  the Army, Police and specially-trained VVIP Protocol officers residing at the Castle Quarters at Okponglo in Accra, formerly known as ‘Commando Barracks’, and the Cook House at the Castle.

About 10 of those sacked from the Cook House are now holed up in one room at the CID headquarters, praying for God’s intervention.

The unexplained ejection notice was fired from government just after the said official residence was invaded by three fully-armed men who claimed they were from the Seat of Government and that they had been granted permission to take possession of the place.

The development reportedly generated brisk fisticuffs, with warning shots being fired but no casualty occurred and the invaders left after giving a warning that they would be back.

Later on, two other men who claimed they were from the Castle followed up to the quarters and gave the occupants a verbal notice to leave the place.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that on Thursday April 21, 2009, the said officers were ordered to report to the office of the National Security Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, behind the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra, for interrogation, after which they were informed of their ejection by one Alhaji Yartey.

They were reportedly questioned on when and how they joined the security service, which part of the country they come from, which former government official they were detailed to protect, and how many times they had travelled outside Ghana on official assignment with any former government official.

The Commando Barracks at Okponglo was originally inhabited by the erstwhile 64 Infantry Regiment; a group of guerrilla commandos created and trained to owe their loyalty to ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, under the command of Gbevlo-Lartey. The Kufuor government later added another block of flats to the original one.

The unit was better trained and better armed than the Ghana Armed Forces, but when it was disbanded in 2001 and reintegrated into the mainstream Ghana Army, many of the commandos resigned and left the country after which their vacant quarters were given to other serving security officers and men.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that though the facility belongs to the state, many of the resigned commandos continued to stay there, some for as long as two years, before they left. Now the Commandos are back in town, playing key roles in the Mills Administration.

It is not yet certain what government intends to do with the facility after ejecting its current occupants; but what is certain is that the security boys, all of whom are still in the employment of the state, are currently scrambling to find places to lay their heads.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo