Ghana’s deputy minister of communications, Felix Ofosu Kwakye, has stated that the three South African nationals arrested by the country’s Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) on Monday March 21, had in their possession military accoutrements.
The three men, 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 some young people 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.
But Mr Kwakye Ofosu stated that despite the assertions of the opposition New Patriotic Party that the men were not in the country to conduct military training and could not have brought with them any weapons or material suggestive of a military combat, the BNI swoop uncovered evidence to the contrary.
He told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Multi TV’s newsfile programme on Saturday March 26: “…Have they [the NPP] averted their minds to the fact that when they were arrested, where they were was searched? Are they aware of what was found? I can tell you they found military uniforms, they found accoutrements that were the sole preserve of the military. Not even the police are allowed to use that. They found sandbags: it is the military that are able to use that for purposes of training.”
The deputy minister added that the three South Africans were found to have been in possession of a dossier on STL, a firm involved in the electronic transmission of data to the Electoral Commission (EC) in the 2012 general elections. He said the document contained such sensitive information as the details on workers, including their names and what they do.
Mr Kwakye Ofosu’s comments followed assertions on the programme by Egbert Faibille Jr., a lawyer and managing editor of the Ghanaian Observer newspaper that the arrested ex-cops were in the country solely for business and declared what were in their possession to the relevant authorities upon arrival.
“The accoutrements that they brought into this country were airlifted and came through the Kotoka International Airport (KIA); they were cleared. The necessary duties were paid, Mr Faibille Jr. stressed.
“I can tell you some of the things that came: T-shirts, golf shirts, socks, cargo pants, they had duffel bags, they had cones, skipping ropes. They also had boots and canvas. They also had paint guns. If you know what a paint gun is, it is non-lethal, it is eventually a toy – it is shot at you and the paint spreads – extension cords, mosquito coils, boots, A4 printing paper, brown envelopes, water bottles, files, stationery, carry bags, empty cylinders.”
He added that these items were consigned to Delta Security from the company the three worked for in South Africa, hence could not have been done under a cloud.
“In sum, this is a needless provocation, it shows signs of a government that is jittery, that wants to make political capital out of even routine, everyday occurrences,” he accused the governing National Democratic Congress.