A few days ago, the interdicted police director of operations, ACP Kofi Boakye, was called to the bar. He is now a lawyer. And his journey to the bar has been quite a joyous, glorious ride as he graduated top of his graduating class at the Ghana Law School. He won five awards in all.
But cast your mind to just a couple of years ago.
In 2006, Kofi Boakye had a lot of explaining to do after a secret tape recording of a meeting he allegedly held in his house with some suspected drug barons was made public. It all had to do with the disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine aboard the MV Benjamin, a vessel under security guard at the Tema Port.
Chief Justice Georgina Woode (then a judge of the Supreme Court) led a panel to investigate the matter. Her committee recommended the prosecution of Boakye and several others. That hasn’t happened and rather ironically, Mrs Woode was the one who presented Boakye with his top prize at the graduation ceremony… More on this later.
For now, though, here is the transcript of the secret recording of the conversation supposedly between the alleged drug barons in the missing 77 parcels of cocaine at the Tema Harbour and ACP Kofi Boakye, Director-General of Operations of the Police Service.
Below is the transcript of the tape recording. The characters at the meeting, held at the residence of ACP Kofi Boakye (KB) are Tagor (TG), Kwabena Acheampong (KA), Alhaji Issah Abass (AL), Alhaji Moro (AM) and other people present.
There are some Columbians in Abidjan who have arrived. And the Nigerian guy who brought the business has also started talking in Abidjan. Yaw Billa has also said somewhere that they have received goods. I wouldn’t hide anything from you. The whole thing is that we are brothers and that’s why we sitting here. When you Alhaji came to my office, I asked about all this. You swore to me but whenever Alhaji swears, I know he is lying.
KA: Is this the one you have? No black one?
KB: Kwabena will you take Cognac?
AL: Oh Big man, I am joking
KB: I mean Kwabena not you. I know an Alhaji does not drink.
KA: Alhaji haven’t I taken Vodka with you before.
AL: You convinced me to drink it
KA: I like that
KB: As for Johnny Walker, if you get a good one, that’s fine but as for this one, it’s not a good one
KB: The reason why I called you all today is that the general consensus is and he has shown me it was the two of you who hatched the plan. It is only the two of you who know the plan. As to how you…
AL: What plan are you referring to?
KB: The way you …… ok tell your own story, I want you to explain the step you took. You know I cannot explain it well as Issa is also here.
KB: Tell all you know.
KA: Issa cannot say I have done any business with him
KB: Explain to him all the steps that you took, you know what I’m referring to?
TG: The Nigerian came to see me. I concluded all the arrangement.
KA: Who did you meet with the Nigerian?
TG: I met him with a man in Dansoman. We met again on another day where they asked for the details.
KB: Who needed the details?
TA: The Nigerians
KA: It is like buying a car; you need the papers to know that it’s the exact.
KB: Or to know that it is the right ship.
TA: And the cost involved… when we met again…
KB: Is it the Nigerian? Listen to what we are discussing. It is the truth I want.
TA: I don’t know how this matter came out. When this issue came out, that same week, I met him in Alhaji’s house. I was informed by a friend that the Nigerian and his wife visited Alhaji. I heard this very late. He accused me that we are doing the business with him. I have an Uncle who has returned from the US. Since we did that business, he traveled outside, so I told him that I would investigate because I didn’t know about the business.
I communicated with my uncle about the business and no one knows that I do business with my uncle. Before then, I was in Kumasi when I heard something about the ship. I am only assuming, so I concluded that if the ship had caught fire, then the Nigerian had given the business to Alhaji, because Alhaji and I wanted to buy and use the ship for business. When I heard this, I assumed that it was that ship which had been used for the business.
That is what my mind tells me. We were all planning to use the ship for business.
KB: All this is speculation, it’s no fact. Allow him to finish his narration. Tagor, you continue
TG: To my knowledge, the Nigerian, since the guy hinted that he had passed behind me, that’s what I know.
KB: You suspected Issah.
AL: Every bad thing is connected to Issa
KA: My side is what Tagor has narrated but there are bits and pieces that my investigation brought out. It was confirmed that there are two Columbians who are coming down. But the problem is that there were two Columbians also on the vessel. When the people went and received the goods from the ship, they were the people they saw before they released the goods.
KB: Were the Columbians the ones who gave the password? Who knows the password? So whoever was to receive the goods must have the password. How could the receiver know the password? Was it not you who gave the business to Issa?
AL: No, no, he has not introduced any business to me. The Nigerian has been my friend for a long time. It was through me that Nigerian (Paul) got to know Tagor. Tagor went into business with Paul and later wanted to arrest him. You even beat up his friend. I came and told you that Paul is my friend so forget it. By that time, I had done some business with Tagor and he had cheated me, which I have not complained about. Paul is my friend, and he comes to my house all the time. Even three days ago, Paul was in my house.
KA: Did Paul not come to your house three days ago?
AL: Paul came to my house before he left for Guinea.
AL: Paul left the day Kofi Sika left. Paul told me he was going to Guinea. Every weekend, a lot of people come to my house. Tagor has not brought any business to me. I called Tagor about a boat whose owner is saddled with debt. He wants us to repair the boat and use it for business. I gave you the bill for the repair. You told me you were going to see your people, you never came back. The boy has been coming to me in Tema all the time.
KB: I am in this case because my name has cropped up but I know nothing about these goods. Alhaji once called me about a case I never understood. About five days ago, he told me that his friends had informed him that there was some business in town and that if I knew where the goods were, I should come and seize them so that he could also get his share as a mediator.
AL: Kofi, later Tagor comes to me every weekend. Some of your boys went to arrest some 800 in a hotel at Abelenkpe. I did not want to inform you because I know you will take it up. Then Kofi Sika called me that the goods were for Paul.
KB: Which boys are you referring to?
AL: The boys are from Central Police Station.
KB: You should have to brief me well.
AL: So I went to see the boys.
AL: It is 800g.
KB: You are too known
AL: When you go and do your dirty deals, then you blame it on me; you are destroying my name. This is what I have. Paul said he couldn’t go so I drove there with Kofi Sika and called Oppong who said if the goods were mine, then I should find something for the boys. They had also arrested Paul’s driver. After that, I called Paul that he should pay me for the work that I did. Paul brought me $500 on Sunday. Today is Monday; when we met on Sunday at my house, Tagor came there with………….
AL: And we all ate together, including Paul. That concluded it. Later, I heard that a boat had been arrested and one Alhaji Adda, a forex bureau operator at Dansoman, called one.
KB: The one you say is his driver
AL: No, The Alhaji is related to me because he is married to my cousin. The Sinaris are my cousins
KA: That is Nora
AL: Paa called me and said Alhaji where are you? And that he wanted to meet me. I met Paa and Adda at Dzorwulu Shell. They told me their boat carrying their goods was the boat that had been seized by the Narcotics people and said they found 30kgs on the vessel. Then he asked that if I could see the Narcotic guys to see if they could release the 30kgs for them. I further asked if the good were for them.
KB: (Receives phone call)
AL: I asked if the goods were for them. I said, so Paa, you have such business and you haven’t informed me? I told Paa that I heard that something like that had happened in Tema. I do not even know the boat because I even don’t go to the fishing harbour. Paa told me that the boat is called BENJAMIN. I told them that the people who seized the drugs, if it were the Ghana Police, I could talk to them but those Narcotics people at Ministries, it is difficult to talk to them. Then he told me that the owners were white guys. He called the white owners of the goods in my presence and spoke to them in Arabic and told me that they were Lebanese.
We parted company and went our separate ways. I told them to ask them to show us where the goods were. But Adda said he was sure some of the goods were on the boat. Adda promised to call and show me where the goods were but he did not call back. From there, I called Tagor and told him that there was some business in town and we didn’t know. Tagor promised to find out who was involved. Tagor called later and asked, did I know that Joe Bosby was spreading rumors that Tagor, Issa and Kofi Boakye were the ones behind the business? I told them that it was Narcotic, National security, Navy and Air force who seized the vessel. Rumors started spreading that the goods were with me.
KB: From here, I am going to report to National Security. As for Narcotics Control Board, whether they like it or not, there would be a shake up there.
AL: Kofi Boakye called me
AL: And he spoke about the Narcotics People and said that the Narcotics people should be careful. He even mentioned Ben’s and others’ names and said that Ben had done this and that he should be very careful. I told Kofi Boakye that Ben had done nothing and that Ben is like a brother to me.
KB: Yea, Yea
AL: He said he had information and that Ben knew this and he has done that. I said that I knew nothing about that and that I heard Ben had even traveled.
AL: When I came out from there (KB’s office), I met Tagor. Then I told the big man that if Tagor came out, I would see him. When I got down, then I got a phone call that it was JBK who was spreading rumors that we went to do that thing. I denied even doing that. That I did not have the big man’s number but it was Moro or Yaw Billa who gave it to me. And I called the big man to tell him that he should call JBK and others to stop tarnishing my name that I went with the narcotics people to the boat. And I said a boat which is on the sea…
KB: When you came to my office the first day, what did I ask you?
AL: You asked me that they say I and Tagor….
AL: Yes, you said that I went with some people on a boat to search it and took the goods? Then I said no way
KB: I asked you because I have that information
AL: After that you asked me to tell truth in God’s name and if Tagor knew anything about. Answer yourself, what my response was
KB: What Issa said was that he believed that Tagor did not know anything about it. Listen… that is what he said. And I said I had information that it was Tagor who bought the goods and he left one box
AL: That Tagor was going to buy
AL: Why is it that you don’t believe me?
AL: You get wrong information all the time. I am not that business man as you people think. The last you made a comment in your office. You have a wrong picture about me. The way I am with you, people always try to give false information about me
KB: Oh Alhaji, Alhaji is my brother but I don’t trust him
AL: Me, I cannot trust you
TG: Alhaji, now the thing has been put on me and on commander.
KB: That is why I called you here KA: Your name is not there
AL: Your name is not there, but is it my name that has reached there?
KB: He is talking about the Columbians
KA: Your name is not there, it is this person whose name is there
AL: No it’s Tagor
KA: Your name is not there, it is this person
KB: Look, if they know my name, nobody can do anything to me.
TG: Right now, Adda is claming ownership of the goods.
AL: No, Adda told me he knows who the goods belong to. They came to find out if there is a way the Narcotics guys can be spoken to so they can get the 30 kg.
KB: Then it means that the 1700kgs is with Adda.
AL: I don’t know about that.
KB: Alhaji listen, no one would transport 30kgs all the way to Ghana. I think that the goods are with Adda
KA: The goods is 1800kgs, it’s the truth
AL: Why do we have to invite Adda, he would say that I have reported him. Before we invite Adda, we have to know why we are inviting him so that we don’t look stupid before him. It will just be hear say
KB: Look when it becomes critical, we will arrest Adda. Me myself, I will arrest him. Once my name has been mentioned, I must get to the bottom of this matter. I have told the Inspector General of Police. The IGP said, if you know where the information came from that my name has come up in this matter and that I was asked to come. Once my name has been mentioned, I have to clear my name but to clear my name, I have to know where the goods are.
AL: Kofi, before you say all these things, remember that it was Narcotics Board who conducted the operation. Where did they get their information? You are a Police officer, you can get it from them.
KB: Alhaji, the reason why I called you here is that you are my brother; I will never deny you. Me, I will never deny you.
KB: I got to know you in 1994 during Kanka’s funeral. That very night, we had dinner together and as at that time, I knew nothing about you but you have been very nice to me and me too I have been nice to you. There have been so many cases in which you have intervened, which I have let go. As for me, if my name is mentioned in a case… I’m thinking about myself. I do not even know why my name has come in and Joe Bosby claimed it is Tagor who is spreading the rumors.
AL: There is a war between them because they are accusing each other. They should find a solution to the problem. Joe Bosby says it is you, you also claim it is Joe Bosby
TG: Joe Bosby told me personally
AL: How can we protect ourselves? Call a spade a spade
KB: The issue is that the three of us, our names have been mentioned. You have friends but I don’t have. I can always come to you. You need to find the one who has custody of the goods. I am doing what I can. Now the onus is on you, you and you to find out where the goods are. Now you are talking about Narcotics Control board; I will go there and talk to Akuoko and explain matters to him about all that I know. I wouldn’t have bothered if my name had not been mentioned. When the Columbians and Venezuelans brought some goods to Ghana and you bought houses at Airport, Manet and Sakumono, I monitored the vessel from Togo before we arrested the wife of the Venezuelan on the boat and that information was kept amongst us. They were later arrested by Apeatu. As for me my reputation is at stake.
KB: You are a private man but I am a Public Officer because if someone says I, Director of Operation is involved, that’s bad. The two of you will agree that I have no knowledge of this matter. So I was surprised when Alhaji called me about this fact that there are some goods in town and that I should do the operation, so that they can get something from it. It was then that I had information from Tema. I even called Alhaji
AL: About the burning of the boat.
AL: I don’t even know the boat, Benjamin. My name is being thrown around too much and I know nothing about this business.
KB: Issa, to be honest, a BNI man or something told me. I have that information. I heard that you Issa had gone onto the boat with some people so when he came, I asked him if he was the one who went on to the boat with the Narcotic people. I also told him that it was Tagor who was to buy the goods that are missing; when the time comes, we will know the truth. Right now, my main aim is to protect the IGP.
You know that in spite of our differences in the past, Alhaji… you know that first when I get angry with IGP, I call you. What did you say Yaw Billa told you?
TG: He said that the thing is “cooked” and he knows where the goods are and that the Sheriff cripple has taken his share and gone.
AL: You see, let me tell you brothers all today, you are all small boys in the business. I’m 53 years and have worked all my life. Every bad thing is associated with Issa. The cripple Yaw Billa is referring to is Sheriff. The owner of the boat is Mr. Dawson, the son of the owner of TTV Limited. Sheriff hired the vessel for this trip. He himself has a boat called CHECK 1. So when this happened, Sheriff ran away and the Narcotics people have picked his driver and wife. If you say that Sheriff has taken his share and run away, people say things they don’t know. You know that Yaw Billa talks a lot.
I did business with you Tagor, you cheated me, I didn’t complain. I am not a small boy. The big man is here and he can judge for us. I introduced business partners to you even though you also have partners you work with. About 200kgs of goods then came into your custody. You kept the goods in your warehouse. Within three or four days, you claimed that thieves had broken into your warehouse and stolen the goods, not knowing that you did that job with your driver. You told the Columbian, I Issa stole the goods. So they came here to kill me. When they came, they realized that you lied.
AL: Let me continue. You later told me that the culprit was an Ashanti boy who lives opposite your house; the boy had escaped. I told the Columbians that I was not responsible for the 200kg but you (Tagor) told me that it was the boy. The Columbians went looking for the boy, found him and declared they were going to do business with them. The Columbians reminded me to confirm the identity of the boy. I called you Tagor that I had seen the boy so you should come so that we arrest the boy. You didn’t come. I later got to know that you did that job with your driver.
This stupid boy who can’t buy “Opel” has bought two houses. He has a house from Chris Asher who sells tanks at Katamanto. How did this boy get money to buy a house worth $140,000? He bought another one in Tema and opened a communication centre! What are you people talking about? Don’t annoy me. You did that business with that guy; when my goods came, I gave everybody some. Ask Yaw Billa. From then, I have never dealt in drugs again. I called you Tagor as my junior and complained that I was not happy about what you did to me. At least, you should give me some money out of that deal.
Up till now, you haven’t. I bought a car from you Tagor at $10,000- a passat car for my wife which got burnt the next day.
How can a driver buy a house at $140,000? You should stop what you are doing. Let my name rest. You are killing my name. There was a time Joe Bosby and the rest were saying I was working with Ben. What has Ben done? I don’t do any business with Ben. Ben is my brother and he will always be my brother. If anybody is saying anything, they should know what they say.
TG: I am happy that you have raised this matter because you are my friend. The goods that got missing were not for you but for me and my uncle.
AL: It’s not that Yaw Billa talks, you know that you did it.
TG: I am explaining it to you. You have said your part. Listen to me; the goods are not for you, so let me explain something to you. We bought some goods from you. First of all, I didn’t know you were introduced to one by Yaw Billa that you are a strong man. I called you and said you could arrange something from some Columbians. In the first place, the people brought many and I matched them because I didn’t know them. So I didn’t want to put too much in it.
KB: Was it three tons?
TG: No, I still want to explain it to Alhaji because you have all listened to him. When they came, I matched them….
TG: When they came, they said we should buy 100 kgs and credit another 100kgs. I again matched then on another 100kgs but Alhaji didn’t know that. I went to Alhaji and told him that I wanted to credit 100kg and that he should also credit some so that we could sell but he said he could not afford.
AL: That 100kg, you didn’t give me a pesewa.
TG: Oh Alhaji, you are ungrateful: on that same business, I dashed you $40,000. Ask Yaw Billa. Have you forgotten?
AL: Tagor, speak the truth because you are a young man in the business.
TG: If you do that, then I will know that you are not a good man.
AL: Yes, am not a good man because you use my name for the business.
AL: As for you Tagor, you think you are a smart cockroach. Don’t think you know too much.
TG: Let me explain it to him.
AL: It is more than two houses; $140,000 for one and you are telling me that you gave $40,000. Can you give me $40,000? You gave your driver $1 million. Look, Tema is a small place; it will come out.
TG: Let me tell you so that you can ask Charles.
AL: How can I ask Charles? Charles doesn’t know how your driver bought the house. They were all shocked when the driver bought the house. Everybody knows you took the goods, so stop what you are doing.
TG: Listen let me explain
KA: That is your personal business.
AL: Everywhere you use my name, you do your bad dirty things and you use my name. So everybody says Issa is bad.
KB: I want you people to explain things to me.
AL: He (Tagor) told Joe Bosby about you (Kofi) and Joe Bosby said he Tagor said it. So we don’t know who is speaking the truth between Joe Bosby and Tagor. I Alhaji have never mentioned your name (Kofi Boakye) to anyone.
TG: We did some business with Mama Tess. We were sending some goods. I and my driver were sending the goods to…
AL: What are you talking about?
AL: Tagor, you have taken and sold the goods for yourself.
TG: Alhaji, the goods are not for you.
AL: The goods were not for you; it was for the people (Columbians)
AL: The goods were for the white people; if you are angry, are you the one feeding me? Tagor, enough is enough. Stop using my name.
TG: I am not feeding you. Ask those behind, don’t talk like that, Alhaji listen.
KB: Alhaji has told me about this all the time
TG: You can ask Yaw Deuteh.
TG: When we “cut” goods… how did he buy his house? Wofa ,it was not the