Defense Minister Lt Gen. Henry Smith (RTD) yesterday went to parliament to tell the Peoples Representatives the reasons why the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) decided to turn away 420 Ghanaians who had been recruited to join the Army.However, the Daily Searchlight can reveal that most of the answers he gave to parliament were simple and mere prevaricated lies, since the available evidence points to the contrary.
For instance, the Defense Minister told parliament yesterday that out of the 420 recruits selected, only 228 applicants passed through all the stages of recruitment exercise, with the remaining 192 being ‘illegally inserted’.Checks conducted by this newspaper reveal that this statement cannot be true, since for instance those who were recruited into the army for specialized purposes like serving in the military band or for sporting purposes did not go through the regional screening process. In total the number of such recruits was about 66. This has always been the normal practice because the recruits who are to serve in the military band or for sports are always recruited centrally in Accra, using their special skills as the utmost criteria.
Again checks conducted at Army Headquarters reveal that due to limitations of time and the postal services, which made it impossible for some of the recruits to be notified, the Chief of Defense Staff at the time, Gen. J. B. Danquah, ordered that all those who had been approved but who had not received their letters in time should join the national processing exercise at the El Wak Stadium in Accra.The Minister of Defense, in his written response to parliament, also stated that most of the recruits were illiterate, an assertion that has been challenged by the fact that all the recruits were made to go through reading, writing and other tests for literacy before they were accepted for medical and physical examination.
The Defense Minister also told parliament yesterday that the infrastructure available for training of the recruits was substandard.“This is clearly an after thought and an attempt to justify an earlier position by officials of the army. The fact is that the recruits were to assembly on 30th January with training to start on 31st January, at which time the recruits were told to go home. At that time General Smith had not been nominated as Minister. He was nominated later and even appeared before parliament on 10th February, so if he says that when he went on inspection the facilities were inadequate, that would not be true. The facilities cannot be used as justification, because the recruitment was ordered by the army administration with full knowledge of the state of the facilities