One of the three South African ex-police officers being held by Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for offering illegal training to prospective bodyguards of the flagbearer of the biggest opposition party, Nana Akufo-Addo, and his running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, was a regular visitor to Iraq, Deputy Communication Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu has revealed.
“Let me give you the history of one of them, the youngest amongst them is widely travelled, he frequents Iraq very often; that is history that you cannot discount. …No self-respecting security agency will overlook such a fact,” Mr Kwakye Ofosu told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Muti TV’s newsfile programme on Saturday March 26, 2016 to justify why they are being held by the BNI.
The three: Chris Hazis, 54, also known as Major Ahmed Shaik (rtd); WO/Denver Dwayhe Naidu (rtd), 39; and Captain Mlungiseleli Jokani (rtd), 45; were picked up at the El Capitano Hotel at Agona Duakwa in the Central region.
They were said to be training the 15 NPP members in various security drills, including unarmed combat, weapon handling, VIP protection techniques, and rapid response manoeuvres. They have been charged with false declaration and unlawful training. They were put before court on Thursday March 24. They pleaded not guilty and were each granted a GHS20,000 bail with sureties. The BNI is still holding them despite the bail, a situation that has angered their lawyers.
According to Mr Kwakye Ofosu, apart from one of the three being a regular visitor to the militia- and conflict-riddled Persian country, “I can tell you on authority that they [BNI] found military uniforms, they found accoutrement that is the sole preserve of the military [with the three South Africans]. Not even the police are allowed to do that.”
“They found sandbags, it is the military that are able to use that for purposes of training,” he added.
The NPP has insisted that the three were neither “mercenaries” nor “terrorists” as being alleged by some officials of the NDC, but were experts, who were only training bodyguards to control crowds around the NPP flagbearer and his running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia during campaigning, ahead of the November polls.
The BNI, according to the NPP, raided the offices of pro-opposition policy think tank Danquah Institute (DI), while police officers, the party alleges, ransacked the Weija residence of Nana Akufo-Addo’s security head, Captain Edmund Koda (rtd) on Thursday. The retired military officer, who was charged, together with the owner of the hotel, had the charges dropped against them. Capt. Koda (rtd), was, however, has been re-arrested by the BNI, according to Mr Kwakye Ofosu.