13 November 2012

Ghana: The Police and the Drug Menace


The Police, all over the world, are known as peace officers. They are responsible for maintaining law and order wherever they are found. Invariably, the men and women specially trained to keep the peace, have also been a major source of serious conflicts in many societies.

In the late 1980s, Stoke Newington Police Station in London, for instance, was cited as running a notorious drug cartel aimed specifically at implicating young black men. The system worked like this.

When a black person was arrested in connection with any crime and sent to Stoke Newington Police Station, hard drugs were planted on the unsuspecting victims by officers in uniform and implicated in serious drug offences.

It took intensive media investigations to uncover the plot. When the police cover was blown, it led to major changes in police operations and race relations in Her Majesty's Great Britain.

In Ghana, the Police have always come under suspicion in the way officers handle narcotic issues, especially how hard drug exhibits were handled and disposed of. The arrest, prosecution and eventual dismissal of Deputy Superintendent of Police, Gifty Mawuenyegah Tehoda from the service have opened the Pandora Box.

The former Police officer has penned a petition to President John Dramani Mahama, making series of allegations that have the tendency of bringing the reputation of the service and some of the leading personnel tumbling down.

Mrs. Tehoda claims in her petition that certain officers of the service indeed swapped the cocaine exhibit that turned into baking soda and created so much tension in society recently.

The former officer claimed in her petition that the original exhibits were sold in Accra's drug underworld for $19,000. Apart from naming the officer in charge, Mrs. Tehoda also provided the name of the main link between the Police Service and the underworld trade in narcotic drugs in Accra. One of the leading drug dealers in the underworld was also named.

The Chronicle would like to believe that in spite of the demanding nature of the electoral campaign, which has taken much of his time, President John Dramani Mahama would spare a thought for drug peddling in the country, which is threatening to bring the reputation of Ghana into disrepute.

We would like to believe that the petition from the dismissed police officer constitute enough grounds for a highly-powered investigations into the Police Service to enable the service clean its image.

As it is, the Police Service and its top personnel have come under a cloud of suspicion. If the person who keeps the keys to the rooms that drug exhibits are kept is suspected to have been the same officer who would break into the vaults and take away drug exhibits and sold in the open market in Accra, then we all have a very serious problem to deal with.

The Chronicle is surprised by the cemetery silence that has greeted the serious allegations against very senior officers of the Police Service. We are gradually coming to the conclusion that there is more to the police and drug dealings than meet the eye.

President Mahama has a duty to the state to help unravel the mystery. A wide-ranging commission of enquiry will help cure the Ghana Police of its drug-related illness.

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