Monday, March 13, 2017

Peacekeeping Slots Go For $3000

One of the greatest concerns of the Patriotic Concerned Officers and Men (PACOM) of the Ghana Armed Forces is about the allocation of vacancies to Units, Formations, Commands, Bases, Services Headquarters, General Headquarters, Departments, Directorates, Offices and Staff Officers for peacekeeping operations.

Reliable information in the custody of PACOM and forwarded to the DAYBREAK newspaper indicates that very senior officers in the military have turned the allocation of  vacancies for peacekeeping operations into a goldmine from which they are excavating several thousands of American Dollars.

The allegation is so stinking and reprehensible that Major Generals OB Akwa and WA Ayamdo must put their feet down, act swiftly, immediately and urgently in order to avoid any form of mutiny in the military.

The allegation is that each time vacancies are given by the United Nations for the various Mission Areas of peace support operations, according to the Order of Battle (ORBAT), some of the staff officers at Army Headquarters, other Service Headquarters, General Headquarters, Formation Headquarters, Command Headquarters, Base Headquarters, Unit Headquarters, Departments and Directorates sell some of the vacancies to poor soldiers who  are desperate to go on peace support operations in order to improve upon their economic circumstances.

Investigations conducted by DAYBREAK have revealed that some vacancies are either reserved for these staff officers or are added to the regular allocation with the explanation that the additional vacancies are meant for specified Staff Officers, Director Generals, Directors, Commanding Officers or Officer Commanding or these Staff Officers give the names directly to the Director Army Peacekeeping Operations (DAPKOP) who releases them subsequently to the individual soldiers concerned. 

The Staff Officers then charge these poor soldiers between $2,000 and $3,000 per soldier per an operation.
Some of the staff officers are allocated as many as six (6) vacancies for each operational area. Thus, one staff officer may get as many as twenty-four vacancies (six times four) for four operational areas in a year.
A conservative calculation shows that such a staff officer would receive a minimum of $42,000 per annum and as high as $72, 0000 per annum. 

The  number of operations concerned is given as follows: Labanon (UNIFIL), Congo (MONUSCO), Southern Sudan (UNMISS), Liberia (UNMIL), Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Mali (MINUSMA) and United Nations Military Observer Missions (MILOBS) or Staff Officers.

At the peak of the peace keeping operations by formed troops, Ghana could boast of about six Mission Areas between 2010 and 2015. Additionally, Ghanaian officers were selected for United Nations Observer Military Missions (MILOBs) or Staff Officers in various countries around the world.

Thus, at the peak of the External Peace Support Operations, the Staff Officers in charge of allocating vacancies or to whom certain vacancies had been allocated could “earn” as much as $108,000 ($3,000x 6 persons x 6 operational areas) or a minimum of $72,000 ($2,000 x 6 persons x 6 operational areas) per annum while in Ghana without participating in any of the operations themselves.

This practice which has been on-going for some years now with impunity amounts to “slavery or servitude” in the Ghana Armed Forces.

It is so sad that this inhuman treatment is being meted out to poor soldiers by their superiors who are Brigadier Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Majors and their equivalents or Chief Warrant Officers.

The allegation is that these officers either make the offer to the soldiers or the soldiers who are aware of the “facility” go to these staff officers or appointment holders to negotiate for these vacancies at the pre-arranged prices ranging between $2,000 and $3,000 depending on the Mission Area, period (duration) and whether it is formed troops peace support operation or Military Observer Mission.

In course of our investigations, it came to light that the main architects of this inhuman, irresponsible, insensitive and reprehensible practice are the Directors Army Peacekeeping Operations (DAPKOP) and Army Secretaries at Army Headquarters and some Commanding Officers of some Battalions and Regiments. The names of some Director Generals and Directors also featured prominently.

An assessment of the pieces of evidence showed that the names of two Colonels who were DAPKOPs and Army Secretaries respectively between 2013 and early part of 2016 were synonymous to the practice of offering peacekeeping vacancies to officers and men for a “fee” or “charge”.

The officers allegedly linked to this practice are Colonel JK Akou-Adjei (GH/2268) and now Brigadier General NK Kporku (GH/2163).

Colonel JK Akou-Adjei was the Army Secretary between 20th December 2012 and 7th April 2016 when he recommended himself for Course Overseas in the United States of America and left the shores of Ghana.

Then Colonel (and now Brigadier General) NK Kporku was appointed Director Army Peacekeeping Operations on 26th April 2013 and remained so until 1st July 2016 when he was appointed Director General Joint Operations at the General Headquarters and promoted Brigadier General.

The allegations have it that then Colonel NK Kporku reserved at least six (6) vacancies on each operation for the then most powerful Army Secretary, Colonel JK Akou-Adjei for his “administration”.

Others beneficiaries allegedly included Colonel LK Gbetanu, then Commanding Officer 5 Battalion, Brigadier General AK Adu then Director Military Records and Colonel RJK Komlaga, Deputy Director Defence Intelligence (DI).

The allegation have it that several “friends” at the Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Airforce Headquarters, General Headquarters, Command Headquarters, Formation Headquarters, Base Headquarters, Commanding Officers and Officers Commanding units and sub-units respectively benefitted from the “vacancy allocations”.

Colonel NK Kporku is alleged to have also kept some “reserves” (vacancies) at the DAPKOP’s office which were also issued out along the same terms as or more favorable terms than those offered by Colonel JK Akou-Adjei.

Additionally Colonel JK Akou-Adjei is alleged to have offered Military Observer Missions (MILOBS)/Staff Officers’ vacancies to some Commissioned Officers for similar or higher “fees” or “charges”.

Some of the officers and men who were “victims” of these acts of “slavery or servitude” and were interviewed by our sources claimed that they had become desperate and needed urgently those operations to “survive” and/or to “avoid very shameful embarrassment in their economic circumstances”.

According to some of these victims, they needed the dollars to care for their families and also to undertake various projects. They were therefore willing and prepared to forgo about one-third or one-quarter of their “Earned Dollar” to their benefactors (Colonels Kporku and Akou-Adjei in particular) in order to make ends meet.

Most of these “victims” claimed that they did not have any reliable persons to lean on in order to get these operations. They intimated that accepting those terms (parting with between $2,000 or $3,000) enabled them to jump the queue of non-participants or seniority of participants. Thus, these officers and men (victims of slavery or servitude by then Colonels Kporku and Akou-Adjei) did not consider the immoral and unprofessional aspects of the “contract of servitude” but were rather grateful to these vampires.

Most of them said the Animal farm situation that had been created in the barracks by the NDC administration of John Mills and John Mahama pushed them to accept those “contracts of slavery” as the alternative was living in poverty and disgrace while the NDC favoured ones lived in opulence and extravagance in and outside the barracks.

Notwithstanding the fact that most of the victims entered into these contracts of slavery or servitude out of their own volition, PACOM and this paper feel strongly that the alleged conduct of all the officers involved is unacceptable, shameful and prejudicial to good order and discipline contrary to Section 54 of the Armed Forces Act, 1962, Act 105.

Again, the conduct of those officers, especially Colonel JK Akou-Adjei and Brigadier General NK Kporku, if proven to be true, would be scandalous and wicked and would constitute offences under Section 32 of the Armed Forces Act, 1962, Act 105.

In fairness to the two “principal suspects” in the alleged “Earned Dollar Sharing Agreement between staff officers and servants of Peacekeeping Operations”, PACOM is demanding an impartial inquiry into the allegation.

PACOM is aware that one of the principal characters in the alleged scandal-Colonel JK Akou-Adjei- is on course in the USA and may have to return to Ghana before a full scale inquiry by way of a Board of Inquiry could be instituted into the allegations. However, in order to avoid the continuity of that practice, the current Chief of Army Staff, Major General WA Ayamdo and the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General OB Akwa, the immediate past COAS, are humbly requested to put mechanisms in place immediately to protect the pieces of evidence that may be available at the office of the DAPKOP at Army Headquarters.

Furthermore, the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Defence Staff are humbly requested to streamline the allocation of vacancies for peacekeeping operations such that those “abuses” by staff officers for pecuniary purposes and interest are eschewed.

The Chief of Army Staff, the Chief Staff Officer at Army Headquarters and the Chief of Defence Staff are please requested to take special interest in the ORBAT of every operation, vacancies allocated to Services, Formations, Commands, Bases, Units, Departments, Directorates and offices (i.e. Forces Sergeant Major’s Office).
Furthermore, the Department of Defence Intelligence needs to be re-organized to reflect the current political realities in order to make it more effective, purposeful and relevant.

The previous NDC Administration had deliberately removed all professional “intelligence officers” who were either neutral or suspected to be sympathetic to the NPP or were seen to have been posted to the Department of Defence Intelligence during the regime of President JA Kufuor.

In the places of these professionally upright “Intelligence Officers” such as Brigadier General T Oppong-Peprah and Colonel Agyemang Prempeh, the following officers with the NDC Umbrella on their heads were made to inundate the Department of Defence Intelligence: Colonel RJK Komlaga (GH/2497)-DDG, Colonel Mohammed Mustapha (GH/2426)-Course Overseas, Colonel Twum Ampofo Gyekye (GH/2436)-D CINT, Colonel Isaac Nicholas Paintsil (GH/2560)- D Trg, Colonel Fuseini Salifu (GH/2638)- D CINT, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ebenezer Alo (GH/2824)- DD OPINT, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Kelvin Merdiemah (GH/2898) DD CINT, Lieutenant Colonel Elikem Korku Fiamavle (GH/2926)-DD DIT, Major Richard Komla Nyamador (GH/3051) AD CINT, Squadron Leader Mark Kizito Adelibam (GH/3092) AD DIT, Lieutenant Commander Paul Vuoche Aatara (GH/3492) AD OPINT and Major BA Khemchand (GH/3219) OC 5DDI

It is obvious that the above-named “Umbrella officers” have been positioned strategically and tactically to serve the interest of the NDC. They are real moles and would thwart all efforts to “clean the system” as the “purgatives” will affect the “NDC eaglets” sitting on the umbrella. But that should be expected when the previous NDC Administration deliberately adopted a divide and rule policy by giving appointments to their favorites, cronies and kinsmen. They had also anticipated that there could be a change in government but would remain in “effective power” owing to the strategic and tactical appointment that they reserved for themselves.

As matters stand now, no action can be taken against the “NDC current and former appointees” in the Armed Forces. The likes of Colonel JK Akou-Adjei, Brigadier General NK Kporku and Air Commodore IR Wayoe would walk away free with the NDC Service Commanders, Chief of Staff, Director Generals and Directors still in firm control of affairs. 

It is extremely sad that persons previously considered to be enemies of the NDC (because they were suspected to be NPP sympathizers) in the barracks and were victimized, humiliated, harassed and dehumanized are still at the mercy of these wicked, vicious and callous appointment holders.

Rather sadly also, there are some so called NPP office holders who are more than prepared to protect the “NDC gurus” in the barracks at the expense and to the detriment of ever poor, vulnerable and unprotected “NPP faithfuls” in the barracks. Eh, hmm, Asem beba o!

PACOM wants the allegation of “dollar extortion” by the former Army Secretary and Director Army Peacekeeping Operations to be fully investigated. Even though attempts may be made by the “suspects” to interfere with and pervert the course of justice, PACOM is convinced that if there is the good will and determination to “uproot this canker”, the relevant documentary pieces of evidence could be found.

Witnesses, who were victims of the scandalous practice, may fear to appear to give information voluntarily because of possible victimization thereafter by members of the cabal and mafia.

But it cannot be business as usual, oooo!!!