General News of Saturday, 21 January 2017
The Minister-designate for National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, has assured that if given the nod, he would ensure that two key national security issues — post-election attacks and ‘galamsey’ — are dealt with.
The second nominee to face the Appointments Committee of Parliament yesterday, Mr Kan-Dapaah said he believed the National Security portfolio would afford the country the opportunity to address the issue of politically motivated attacks that had become part of the country’s body politic in the past few years.
“Mr chairman, when you ask any of them who engage in the practice they tell you that the other party also did it to them,” he told the committee.
However, he assured of his commitment to deal with post-election violence if made the substantive minister and congratulated the Ghana Police Service for their efforts, strictness and firmness exhibited in dealing with the attacks such that the incidents had reduced.
“We must let people respect the laws of Ghana. If we don’t, there will be many problems,” he cautioned in response to a concern expressed by the Minority Leader and member of the committee, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, on the attacks which he referred to as a disease that had resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of property.
Mr Kan-Dapaah is a Chartered Accountant and lecturer who has served in several financial, public accountability and auditing management positions and was a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Afigya Sekyere West Constituency from January 1997 to 2012.
The nominee also served in various capacities in the Kufuor government as the Ministers of Energy, Communications, the Interior and Defence.
Touching on the issue of ‘galamsey’ raised by the MP for Tema East, Mr Titus Glover, Mr Kan-Dapaah said it was one of the security issues for which a solution must be found.
Many other issues raised on the security situation in the country were deferred to the second part of the vetting which was in camera, with the Chairman of the Appointments Committee and First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu explaining that they had security implications and had to be discussed behind closed doors.
Contrary to the very hot session lasting over four hours and involving a flurry of questions posed the Senior Minister-designate, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the vetting of the second nominee took off on a very light note with both members of the committee and the nominee cracking jokes.
Members initially posed questions on the curriculum vitae presented by Mr Kan-Dapaah and pointed out some omissions they had found such as the other committees he served on apart from the Mines and Energy Committee he listed.
Another substantive issue that came up was the reference made during a Judgement Debt hearing by the MP for Adansi Asokwa, Mr. K. T. Hammond that a committee was set up by the nominee to sell Ghana’s drill ship.
Mr Kan-Dapaah explained that a committee was indeed set up but its purpose was to enter into negotiations with Societe General which the government owed. He said that committee’s purpose was defeated as the company obtained judgement and was not willing to enter into any negotiations.
A petition submitted by a member of the public against the nominee was also read out and he was allowed to respond to it.
It was in respect of an information allegedly passed on to him when he was Defence Minister in the Kufuor era about a ship that was carrying cocaine, but the petitioner who was named as John King in WikiLeaks, described the nominee’s response as dismissive and irritable.
In his answer to the petition, Mr Kan-Dapaah said he was not a Defence Minister but rather became a Minister of the Interior two days after the complaint was made. However, he said he still issued a press statement which he read, to answer the queries.
He explained that the issue was brought to his attention on May 3 but he was appointed minister on May 5 of the year in question.
He stated further that the minister’s role was more of an administrative one and did not have anything to do with the operations of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).