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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

National Security not ready for dismissed bodyguards - Ablakwa

Deputy Information Minister Okudzeto Ablakwa
Deputy Information Minister Okudzeto Ablakwa

A Deputy Information Minister, Okudzeto Ablakwa says the dismissed bodyguards of ex-government officials cannot enlist in National Security because the agency is already over-staffed.

He said National Security has conducted an internal audit which revealed “there was a lot of loitering and idling and these are the things they want to curb.”

The dismissed ex-security officers served former President Kufuor, his vice Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the former Speaker of Parliament, Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes and other state officials.

They were appointed in 2001 when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed office but Mr Okudzeto says the government does not have the money to keep all of them.

He however stated that the laid-off staff, if they are still interested in the security job, could apply to be formally recruited into other security agencies when entry application forms start circulating later this year.

“They are allowed to go through the necessary applications, go through the drill and then they would be properly enlisted,” he told Joy News Editor Matilda Asante-Asiedu.

Mr Okudzeto said the reports should not come as a surprise because the dismissals were part of the transition arrangements agreed upon with the previous administration.

“These are fallouts from the transition arrangements that we made some time in January,” he said.

President Kufuor, he said, was well-aware of the move and had co-operated with government. Indeed the former President selected the men he desire to work with, and they include civilians.

Asked about how President Mills’ guards were hired, Mr Okudzeto who said it was “not appropriate to discuss these security matters in the open,” said the president’s guards “are people who are very qualified who have gone through the right process.”

He said most of the president’s guards today are military and police officers whose records are without question.

Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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