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Monday, September 5, 2011

Wikileaks gives a peek into Francis Poku's dismissal

From: Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana          Last Updated: September 5, 2011, 10:00 am
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Francis Poku, former National Security Coordinator
Whistle-blower website, Wikileaks, has given what appears to be the clearest explanation yet to the circumstances leading to the sacking of former National Security Coordinator and later Minister, Mr Francis Poku.

Mr. Poku’s sacking on January 12, 2008 generated intense debate and controversy, culminating in the once strong man being put under house arrest and undergoing forced debriefing.

Sections of the public demanded an explanation from then President John Kufuor for Mr Poku’s dismissal, however then Majority Leader Abraham Ossei Aidoo dismissed the demands insisting "The President is under no obligation to give reasons to anybody, and I stress he is under no obligation to give reasons to anybody, it is his right and the Constitution backs him, period! The call in the media and some personal interactions by personalities who impressed upon the President to give reasons or reinstate the ex-minister is unnecessary and a waste of national efforts and time. He who hires can fire, and it is normal everywhere in the world."

Leaked diplomatic cables by the US Embassy in Accra say the former minister was fired for insubordination.

“On January 12, President Kufuor fired Minister of National Security Francis Poku, who had served as Ghana's National Security Coordinator since 2002 and Minister of National Security since 2006. According to sources, the final straw in the tense relationship between Kufuor and Poku was Poku's sending Brigadier Saki, head of Ghana Military Intelligence, to Israel in December 2007 on a liaison trip, unbeknownst to Kufuor. Following this trip, Saki prepared a trip report which ended up in the hands of J.K. Mensah, the Director of the Research Department at the MFA. Mensah, who allegedly felt passed over in 2006 when Poku was appointed Minister, shared the report with Kufuor. Kufuor, according to sources, was upset about the trip to Israel because Poku had not informed him about it. Calling Poku to task on Saturday morning in front of Yaw Gyimah, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Frank Adu Poku, Head of Ghana Police's Criminal Investigations Department, Kufuor asked Poku why he had not been informed of the mission to Israel. Poku allegedly told Kufuor that he was ‘on a need to know basis’ and that the mission was part of his duties as Minister. Kufuor became more upset with Poku after these statements and asked for his resignation. When Poku refused to resign, Kufuor sacked him,” the leaked cable said.

In her comment, then US Ambassador, Pamela Bridgewater, said Mr “Poku generated many enemies during his time as Minister. Mensah, of the MFA, felt passed over when Poku was named Minister in 2006. The Ghana Police had their own problems with Poku as did the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). Kufuor was also allegedly upset with Poku for his failure to share full details of BNI's election polling which could have potentially informed Kufuor earlier about Alan Kyerematen's lack of popular support.

According to the leaks, Kufuor was surprised and embarrassed when Kyerematen lost the New Patriotic Party (NPP) nomination in December 2007, according to sources. Poku's favourite for the NPP nomination was former Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo. "It is unclear at this point who will succeed Poku as Minister although both Dr. Sam Amoo, the current National Security Coordinator and J.K. Mensah at the MFA have been suggested as possible replacements. It is also quite possible that the position, only created in 2006, could remain empty for Kufuor's final year in office. It is too early to tell what effect Poku's sacking will have on the GOG, however we expect security cooperation to remain strong...”

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