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Sunday, October 25, 2009

PSC Tema Shipyard: Former IGP is furious

Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong
Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong
'Uncle' give us a break who doesn't know the corruption in Ghana Police service?

The former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, has reacted with fury over bribery allegations leveled against him by the Chief Financial Officer of the PSC Tema Shipyard Company, Mr. Mohammed Ismail Bin Lebai Suleiman.

According to Mr. Acheampong, he does not know the operations of West Africa's biggest dry dock company and neither does he know any individual working at the place, to mention that he was bribed by the company.

In a witness statement submittal by Mr. Suleiman to an internal audit on the accounts of the company, he alleged that 'protocol payments' were paid to some 60 policemen who were maintaining security at the shipyard, when unionised workers of the company were interdicted for carrying out an industrial action against what they said were poor conditions of work, in December last year.

Further, he stated that the police officers, including officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), were paid GH¢9,000 in lieu of chicken and rice for the Christmas celebrations last year.

He stressed that some GH¢ were used as "payments to the Regional Commander and his deputy," adding that the then IGP, during the period of the interdiction, first received GH¢10,000 to ensure security at the yard, and that the IGP subsequently ordered the then Tema Regional Police Commander, Mr. Adeloya, to beef up security at the shipyard.

The infuriated ex-IGP, who said, "these people can't be serious; what do they deal in? I have never had any contact with that company, as a corporate body, or with any individual in that company; I'm not even aware that they had an industrial unrest, and as many as 60 policemen were released to them."

He said in December last year, the attention of the police administration was focused on how to ensure a peaceful election, noting that security was released to some flashpoints in and outside Accra, as a result, under no circumstances would the police administration release the limited number of police at the headquarters to beef up security at the shipyard.

He remarked that during the elections, the number of police officers was not adequate, as a result they depended heavily on the military, lamenting that he was concerned with the lack of security in some parts of the country, including Upper East and Upper West.

Mr. Acheampong clarified that there could be internal arrangements by the Tema police to provide security, if any, as is done in all the regions, emphasising that police from the headquarters come in when the situation deteriorates.

"I don't remember that we, from Accra, ever sent anybody to help Tema to solve those problems; it is never true that I ordered any Mr. Adeloya, and the period they are referring to, it was Mr. Kudalor who was the Tema Regional Commander; I am not even aware that 60 police officers were released to them, but why would 60 officers be released to only this company?" he queried.

He welcomed the decision of the Minister of Transport to set up a committee to investigate the allegations that have been leveled by Mr. Suleiman, and the operations of the company.

"I am prepared to cooperate with the committee should they invite me, because I don't know anything about the allegations, and this would enable me to clear my name," he reiterated.

Mr. Patrick TimbilIa, the then Director-General of Police Operations, denied ever releasing police officers to Tema, adding, "I don't even know any company called PSC Shipyard, and I have never done any operations with them."

He said if the headquarters had to release police officers, there should be a request from the Tema Regional Commander, through the IGP.

The then Regional Commander, Mr. Kudalor, told the paper that he was also not aware of any payment made to him, or the region, as was being alleged.

However, the Deputy Regional Commander, ACP Ninson, confirmed releasing some police officers to the Tema Shipyard, but denied receiving monies from the company.

"There were some labour issues there, so we sent some- officers from the Buffalo Unit here in Tema, but no money was given to us, it was our official duty," he reiterated

The Minister of Transport, Mr. Mike Hammah, on Tuesday inaugurated a seven-member committee, chaired by Mr. Chris Ackummey, to investigate the operations of the company, and submit its report within eight weeks.

Source: Chronicle/Ghana

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