President John Dramani Mahama is obviously not a happy man at the moment. The recurrent energy crisis has crippled the economy, leading to the collapse of industries and laying off of workers.
The down-grading of the country’s credit worthiness, coupled with the recent cocaine bust of a Ghanaian lady at Heathrow Airport in London is a serious Gordian knot he has to untie.
Since 2013, the country has been experiencing erratic power supply to homes and industries, which has hugely affected productivity.
Though the development could be attributable to the unreliable supply of gas through the West African Gas Pipeline from Nigeria and the low level of water in Akosombo Dam, industry players believe lack of foresight by the managers of the sector has also contributed to the problem.
Though the much talk about Atuabo Gas project is almost complete to provide gas that will help generate about 500megawtts of power, the internet savvy president has already started cracking the whip by sacking the Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Hutton-Mensah.
Despite the fact that workers of the ECG are unhappy with the action of the president to remove their MD and have started calling on the president to rescind his decision, Mahama remains unruffled and has even gone to the extent of divorcing the Power section from the Energy Ministry, and nominated Dr. Kwabena Donkor, a former Deputy Minister to head the new ministry, with prior approval by Parliament.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor, who is also the Member of Parliament for Pru East, in the Brong-Ahafo Region, has in recent times been on radio suggesting how the energy crisis could be resolved and the president seems to have heard him.
But whilst dealing with the energy problems, President Mahama is also being confronted with another challenge of how to save the battered image of the country, following the recent arrest of Ms. Nayele Amatefe in London, for carrying 12.5 kilos of cocaine.
When the news about the arrest of Ms. Ametefeh broke, it was alleged that she was carrying a diplomatic passport, but this was strongly denied by the government through the communication ministry.
It was also alleged that the cocaine suspect used the VVIP wing of the Kotoka International Airport to board the British Airways flight, but this has neither been denied nor confirmed by the government.
It has further been alleged that the hand bag containing the cocaine was handed over to the suspect in the plane and did not go through the scanners at the airport. Again, the authorities have been silent on this allegation.
The Narcotics Control Board, however, issued a statement where it alleged that they collaborated with their counterparts in Britain, leading to the arrest of the suspect.
The NACOB statement reads: “On the 9th November, 2014, one Ms. Nayele Ametefeh boarded British Airways flight number BA 078 from Accra to London. She was arrested at Heathrow International Airport. She had flown on a first-class ticket using travel miles on British Airways point. The ticket had been purchased on 8th October, 2014 and had been altered three times.”
It added: “In her possession she had two (2) suitcases. Only one (1) of the suitcases was checked in (Baggage tag number BA 059801) and nothing of interest was found. In the other suitcase which was believed to be hand carried onto the plane, 10kgs of cocaine was found among her clothing. The cocaine were wrapped in one kilo blocks. In her handbag, she had further two (2) kilos (blocks).
“It is worthy to note that Ms. Nayele Ametefe travelled on Austrian passport number P4187659 and not on Ghanaian Diplomatic passport as being speculated. She also had in her possession an ordinary Ghanaian passport number G0364497 issued on 3rd August, 2012. Investigations are still ongoing.”
This statement, coupled with the editorial ran on it by The Chronicle, compelled the British High Commission in Accra to issue a statement to debunk the claim by NACOB.
The statement reads: “With regard to a report in The Chronicle newspaper on 20 November, 2014, the British High Commission (BHC) wishes to clarify the following points;
“UK authorities have been working closely with Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) since 2006; UK authorities had no prior knowledge of the intentions of Ms. Nayele Ametefeh before flying from Accra to London on 9/10 November; Ms. Ametefeh’s case is an ongoing police investigation and as such we will not be commenting on the details; Questions relating to the use of the VIP Lounge at Kotoka International Airport should be directed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who are responsible for the management of this facility; “UK authorities work closely with NACOB to ensure that, wherever possible, any potential drug trafficker to the UK from Ghana is arrested here in Ghana and not permitted to board a flight in order to traffic drugs; The prevention of drug trafficking remains a high priority for the UK and we look forward to continued close collaboration with Ghana.”
The rebuttal, which was signed by Ms. Abigail Foaty, Communications Officer at the Political and Public Affairs Section of the British High Commission, appears to have cast a slur on the image of NACOB, but the drug control board has refused to make any public comment on it.
President Mahama, who as head of state is bearing the brunt, has however, indirectly reacted to the British Government statement by dissolving the governing board of NACOB.
He has also directed his security agencies, which have reportedly picked three people for questioning, to delve deeper into the case and exposed all those who played any role in the exportation of the hard drug, which has embarrassed the entire nation.
Source: The Chronicle