Accuses UNIFIL Board of Inquiry of wrongful picking of committee

DAYBREAK ongoing investigations into fraudulent practices within the Ghana Armed Forces over soldiers freight management and clearance of cargo after peacekeeping duties in Lebanon reveal that while one indicted officer appear to have no qualms with the Report from the Committee appointed to investigate his and another Colonel’s involvement in a scam, he harbours frustrations over the inclusion of a civilian in the Committee.

In an unusual response to the Board dated November 27, 2019, Lt Colonel George Nkansah argues that the military police report whih was submitted by the Special Investigations Branch of the GMP was attached to the BY Report was flawed with various legal infractions that make it difficult to be used for the bases for convening a Summary of Evidence.

These, according to him, are appointment of a civilian not under the codes of service discipline to be part of investigations team, wrongful composition of SIB Team, Disclosure of Operational Information in the presence of an unauthorized civilian and taking of documents without making inventory of list of documents taken.

These he believe stand in the way of the Board not being able to arrive at fair conclusion in the matter before the Board.

Last Tuesday, DAYBREAK filed a story based on a confidential document it intercepted and which affirms that two senior officers of the rank of Colonel had been caught in ongoing scandals related to UNIFIL peacekeeping operations and military freight and fraudulent clearance processes.

According to the document, emanating from the Special Investigations Branch of the Ghana Military Police, the two officers who were caught in the alleged act are Lt Cols George Nkansah now at Southern Command and Aaron Amadu Baba of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College.

Report on investigations conducted into shipment and clearance processes after the UNIFIL operations GHANBATT 83 in Lebanon stated that the two got mired in scandals to the tune of $91, 600 and which must be refunded to the military for its fraudulent nature.

The long list witnesses who went before the investigative committee included Colonel James Hagan, Director, UN Peacekeeping Operations, Army HQ; Major D. Fiagbe, Base Workshop; Lt Nartey James Teye; 1 Signal Regiment and WO1 Karto Arthur Parcius, HQ Special Services Brigade.

Others were Sgt Koranteng Prince Menyah, 1 Battalion; Sgt Salifu Ibrahim, 1 Signal Regiment; Cpl Oppong Samuel, HQ Special Services Brigade and Capt Dawaye Edna.

The rest were WO1 Amenyo Catherine and Higher Executive Officer Mensah Ofori.

Some of the worrying findings were that some contraband goods were found concealed in the sea freight items of some troops who served with the GHNABATT.

That Lt Col Nkansah and Lt Col Baba fraudulently secured an invoice from EL Habr Transport (HA) indicating a total amount of One Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($183,000.00) as the cost of shipping for the thirty four by twenty (34×20) footer sea freight containers.

Additionally, GHANBATT 83 paid an amount of One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Three Hundred Dollars ($117,300) for all thirty four by twenty 34 X 20 footer sea freight containers.

It also emerged that HE Michel HADDAD did not receive Fifty Thousand Dollars as alleged by Lt. Col Nkansah, who admitted the offence of altering and forged shipping documents and misappropriation of funds meant for troops sea freight and wrote an undertaking to refund an amount of Sixty six Thousand Three Hundred Dollars on 28th September 2017 but failed to honour it.

According to the report, “it is important to bring to bear that Commanding Officers who embark on UN missions in Lebanon over years have been conspiring with various shipping companies to inflate figures on invoices used in clearing sea freight container at the Tema Port. In the case of UNIFIL GHNABATT 83 the total costs of shipment including all charged as One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Three Hundred Dollars ($117,300) for all thirty-four twenty (34x 20) footer sea freight containers whereas the invoice presented to MOVCON by Lt Col Baba at the port was One Hundred and Eighty Three Thousand Six Hundred Dollars $183,600 representing a difference of  Sixty six Thousand Three Hundred Dollars ($66,300.00) in shipment for the same thirty four by twenty (34×20)  foot containers. This clandestine act is clearly an attempt at evading tax and misappropriating troop’s money. If these acts are brought to the notice of the Ghana Revenue Authority, it could spell mistrust between the GRA and the Ghana Armed Forces.