By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe
Dr. William George Mensah Brandful (left), presenting his credentials to President Tony Tan of
Singapore (right) as Ghana’s new High Commissioner to that country in 2011.
It is still an unfolding story, and so I would not hasten to draw any conclusions that may shortly turn out to be grossly inaccurate. But this is not to say that the Turkey-Iran-NDC bullion contraband connection has been definitively laid to rest, for it has not; we are still waiting to see where Little Dramani eventually drops the ball. Is he also, once again, going to hop on the next red-eye to Tokyo and suavely paper things over by pretending that it was all a joke, or a contraband-popping rascal’s bad dream that has been so viciously, mischievously and deftly projected onto the present royal triumvirate of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC)?
I am, of course, alluding to the bombshell story
linking Ghana’s former ambassador to Japan, Dr. William George Mensah Brandful, to an illegal gambling casino. I will not attempt to jump the gun here, because it appears that the alleged racket goes well beyond this Mfantsipim alumnus of no mean intellectual depth and breadth. At least this is the conclusion that one reaches from a casual reading of Dr. Mensah Brandful’s curriculum vitae.
I would not jump to conclusions, because the former Ghanaian chief diplomat to Japan is a career diplomat with 37 years of remarkable experience for a 62-year-old man; for any 60-plus-year-old man, to be certain.
Well, according to the Tokyo-based newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, it appears that the erstwhile Mills-Mahama government, shortly after assuming reins of stewardship from the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2009 decided to add the business of illegal gambling to the already fraught portfolio of its chief diplomatic representative in Tokyo. This is what the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of the Japanese is telling the world.
Indeed, the MPD was reported to be liaising with that country’s foreign ministry, and possibly its counterpart in Accra, to facilitate the voluntary appearance of Ghana’s current ambassador to Japan, Mr. Edmond Kofi Deh, to answer a few sticky questions regarding how a casino rental space came to be contractually underwritten, consecutively, by two Ghanaian chief diplomats posted to Tokyo.
According to The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the rental space went for the whopping sum of a half-million Japanese yen per month. This is roughly $5,000. What this Japan newspaper of record does not say, however, and may well be the pivot of the MPD investigation, is how much the alleged space renters made out of the illegal gambling activities operated for several years in the name of the Government and people of Ghana. As well, which highly placed officials in Accra had been privy to this most embarrassing racket, that is, should this story turn out to contain any iota of validity.
Then also, we are told that Ambassador Mensah Brandful may have initiated the racket and supervised the same for sometime before handing it over to his successor, Ambassador Edmond Kofi Deh. In view of the remarkable temporal span of the alleged operation, there may well be a third chief diplomat or even a deputy involved.
What makes this latest post-Turkey epiphany quite intriguing, if also irreparably damning, is the fact that the alleged racket occurred under the watch of the Mills-Mahama government of the National Democratic Congress. Of course, on the part of the Japanese, the glaring ideological distinction between Ghana’s two major political parties may not be so clearly defined. In essence, it is a collective crime (assuming, of course, that what The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper alleges has credence) for which the entire citizenry of our modest but proud and legendary polity stands inextricably and ineluctably guilty.
Needless to say, it is inescapably absurd for anybody to accuse a scion of the Great Aduana Clan of being a dog-eater. Still, given a choice between dog-meat and the sort of epic diplomatic embarrassment being alleged by The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, I would rather relish my kyebi sohwe feast. And, by the way, President Mahama, what is “Hara-Kiri”?