General News of Sunday, 22 May 2016
The Bureau of National Investigation – BNI has broken its long silence on recent accusations over human right abuses and abuse of its power as a security agency.
The state security outfit denied claims it ransacked the offices of the Danquah Institute and the residence of Captain (rtd) Edmond Koda, following the arrest of some three South African ex-police officers who were in Ghana to train Nana Addo’s personal security.
The BNI has also denied ever being involved in the arrest of the Managing Director of a quarry company who allegedly took photos of some Mahindra vehicles allegedly meant for the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) but branded in the colours of the National Democratic Congress –NDC.
The Director of the Bureau, Marcus Pius Awelinga, made the denials during an interaction with the ECOWAS community development program media network in Accra.
In early April, the BNI reportedly picked up the Managing Director of the quarry company, Marbles and Granites for taken pictures and alleging that some Mahindra vehicles meant for the NCCE had been diverted to the ruling party and branded in the party’s colours.
He was subsequently released after spending about two days with the BNI. The BNI boss indicated that it was the police who arrested the man in question and brought him to the BNI.
On the NPP’s Captain (rtd) Edmund Kodah, the BNI Director said the search in his premises was conducted with his consent, and that every step of the investigation process was endorsed by him.
According to him, BNI officers went to the offices of the Danquah Institute but met the security man on duty but upon seeing them he locked himself up compelling the BNI officers to abandon their mission.
He wondered how the media came by pictures of the supposed break in at the institute’s offices.
The involvement and supposed search in the offices of both the Danquah Institute and Captain Koda’s residence were in connection with the three South African’s who were in Ghana to train the NPP flagbearer’s personal bodyguards.
Both allegations and other alleged human right abuses have been denied by the Bureau including an alleged maltreatment of Daniel Asiedu, the man reported to have murdered the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North constituency.
The BNI, per the act that established it is mandated to investigate all activities of national interest in order to safeguard the country’s integrity and security.
The BNI as an intelligence body is to detect and prevent crimes and advice government on emerging threats.
However, the investigative agency has come under public criticism in recent times, with accusations that it is nosing on political opponents.
But the director of the bureau, Marcus Pius Awelinga, denied any wrongdoing.
He said the BNI has not investigated the MP’s murder suspect Daniel Asiedu but only provided safe custody at the instance of the police.
He insisted, the man was arrested by the SWAT team of the police and brought for custodial purpose only.
Awelinga also denied human right abuses in BNI cells, adding they have one of the best custodian facilities, which is why most security agencies preferred them. The BNI director urged Ghanaians to ignore the falsehood against the institution.
He also urged the media to help safeguard the peace and stability of the country by getting the public to think and act more responsibly.