Accra, Ghana (PANA) - A press conference by President John Evans Atta Mills to mark his third year in office, the ongoing blame game in the missing cocaine saga, continuing hullabaloo on huge judgement debt and seizure of a cache of arms, allegedly on its way to Nigeria, were some of the stories highlighted in the Ghana media this week.
“We’ve made good progress – Mills,” was the headline of the state-owned Ghanaian Times on President Mills’ assessment of his tenure at Monday’s press conference during which he answered questions on several issues.
The President said his administration deserved another term in office, indicating that his government had performed creditably.
“We have made a lot of progress,” he said, adding that Ghanaians could testify to the many improvements made in the various sectors of the economy.
President Mills said he trusted that Ghanaians would be very objective in their decision at the December polls.
“We have not done everything, but Ghanaians have seen what we have done and what we are capable of doing,” he said.
Another story in the Ghanaian Times on the press conference had the headline “My hands are clean.”
The story said President Mills said his hands were clean in the controversial judgement debt paid to Mr. Alfred Woyome, a businessman and member of the ruling party, whose contract over the building of three stadiums for the 2006 African Cup of Nations was allegedly abrogated by the previous government.
President Mills has directed the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the matter and also find out how much judgement debts had been paid since his government came to power in 2009.
Various officials under the government of former president John Kufuor, under whose watch the alleged contract was terminated, have refused to appear before EOCO with the Daily Guide, a pro-opposition newspaper, saying in a headline that “I won’t go! Osafo-Maafo snubs EOCO.” Yaw Osafo-Maafo was the minister of sports at the time.
One of the stories in the state-owned Graphic on President Mills’ press conference had the headline Ghanaians will renew my mandate – Prez.”
It said that the President had expressed confidence that Ghanaians will renew his mandate on account of the impressive performance chalked up so far by his administration.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide had the headline “Government celebrates Economic success” with the story saying that the President Mills had described his three-year tenure in office as a great success.
“We have achieved the longest single digit inflation ever in the history of this country, interest rates have gone down and the economy has recorded the highest growth ever,” President Mills said.
The newspapers also reported the contents of the reports of two separate groups that investigated the swapping of about one kilogramme of cocaine that turned into baking soda.
The Graphic, reporting on the conclusion of the committee set up the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood, had the headline “Swap not on court premises – CJ’s C’ttee”.
It said the committee of inquiry instituted by the Chief Justice concluded that the cocaine was not swapped on the premises of the Accra Circuit Court that had tried the case.
“If there was any swapping of the cocaine with any other substance, it was done before the substance was tendered in court on 27 September, 2011,” it said.
The report said the long delay in the prosecution of the case gave room for any possible tampering with the substance, especially when it was left “in the hands of the police for three long years”.
“Police swapped soda cocaine,” was the headline of the Daily Guide which said the Chief Justice-ordered probe had absolved the circuit court judge, Eric Kyei Baffour and his staff, pushing the blame on the Police.
“The veiled passing of the buck to the Police as per the bulky report, will provoke efforts from the law enforcement wing of the state to clear its name; but just how it would seek to do this and with what success rate, is anybody’s guess, especially this being the second time that narcotic stuff has changed form, publicly,” the newspaper said.
The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) also indicted two senior police officers, Kofi Adzei-Tuadzra and Gifty Mawuenyegah Tehoda.
One story said the police administration had described as “flawed” the findings of two reports which implicated officials of the administration in the infamous cocaine turned baking powder saga and had subsequently announced a 50,000 cedis reward for information which would lead to the arrest of perpetrators. (US$1.00 = 1.65 Ghana cedis)
According to the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Mr. Prosper Agblor, the administration discharged its duties competently and professionally and will not be held accountable for the mysterious cocaine swap into baking soda.
The BNI later arrested the Head of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Police CID, Tehoda, in connection with the swap, who remanded her in custody for several days and only released her on Friday after a High Court agreed to a bail on Thursday morning.
The Daily Guide’s story on the seizure of the arms read, “Guns truck grabbed.”
It said a large assortment of weapons and ammunition had been impounded by the Greater Accra Regional Police Command following their discovery and the arrest of five persons.
The newspaper said the weapons were aboard a Coca-Cola-branded truck and allegedly heading for Nigeria when the Police, based upon a tipoff, intercepted it.
The Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Ms Rose Bio Atinga, who briefed the media, said the large quantity of weapons was found hidden cleverly along the chassis of the truck with registration number SA 761-YAB.
The impounded weapons included pump-action, double-barrelled guns and type AA and BB cartridges.
The five persons - three Ghanaians and two Nigerians - are Kofi Aboagye, 52, Sunday Eze, 35, Amosu Taiwo, 35, Kwesi Asamoah, 29, and Kwodjo Baffoe, 30 (owner). They are currently helping the Police in their investigations.
The Graphic story had the headline “Police impound arms cache” while the Ghanaian Times headline was “Arms seized - They were consigned for Nigeria”
-0- PANA MA/VAO 14Jan2012