Matilda Baffour Awuah – Prisons Boss
Five senior prison officers stationed at the Tamale Central Prisons have been cited in some underhand dealings currently being investigated by the Prisons Board and the police.
DAILY GUIDE has in its possession a four-page document detailing how the alleged corrupt practices by five senior officials and an inmate serving a 15-year jail term for armed robbery were carried out.
They allegedly used the supply of Gari meant for inmates to undertake the corrupt practices at the Tamale Central Prisons in the wake of calls by civil society groups for government to increase feeding quotas for prisoners.
In a petition dated February 16, 2013 and addressed to the Director General of the Ghana Prison Service, Alhaji Alidu Mohammmed, a convict, demanded immediate payment for bags of Gari supplied to the Tamale Central Prisons.
According to the petitioner, the acting regional commander of the Service, ADP Owusu- Amponsah, a certain Superintendent Yakubu, Superintendent Akpalu, Senior Superintendent Adzah and Sergeant Morgaut, the storekeeper on September 1, 2012 held a meeting with him.
The meeting, he alleged, was at the instance of the officers who disclosed that Gari rationed daily to inmates were stored and not eaten and pleaded with the convict to use his influence to get the inmates sell the Gari to him at cheaper prices.
Per the agreement at the said meeting, the convict disclosed that he was supposed to sell the Gari to the authorities as against they purchasing the foodstuff from their suppliers.
Alhaji Alidu Mohammmed immediately bought into the idea and withdrew his money at the reception of the prison and managed to buy five maxi bags of Gari, which he claimed he gave to the senior officers in line with the agreement.
He was able to purchase the second and third consignments of four maxi bags on October 1, 2013 and eight maxi bags on January 1, 2013 respectively, which were duly supplied to the service and kept in the stores.
The cost of the Gari was GH?1,600 but the authorities after raising GH?348 to defray part of the cost refused to pay the rest of the amount and offered flimsy excuses.
Several attempts to recover the outstanding amount proved futile as some officers threatened him when he made demands.
The convict petitioned the Director General of the Service in view of the untold hardships the situation had inflicted on him.
He indicated that he kept money at the reception for his upkeep because the food was not enough for inmates.
When contacted, a certain Ishmael Yankson staff Officer of the Regional Headquarters declined to comment on the matter, stressing that they had been barred from granting interviews to the media under such situations.
He however directed the paper to speak to the public affairs directorate of the service at its headquarters in Accra since they had been mandated to speak to such issues.
Public Relations Officer of the service, DSP Courage Atsem confirmed the circulation of the said document, indicating that the matter was being investigated by both the police and the Ministry of the Interior.
He told DAILY GUIDE he could not comment further until investigations had been duly completed.
As at the time of filing this report, the said officers were still at post.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale