Accusations surrounding a leaked audio tape allegedly revealing a plot to remove Ghana's Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, have ensnared Commissioner of Police (COP) Alex George Mensah.
COP Mensah, who served as Director-General of Operations during the violence-marred Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections in 2019, has appeared before a parliamentary committee to address the allegations. This development has further spotlighted his role in the turbulent by-election.
COP Mensah denied any connection to the masked National Security personnel involved in the violence during the by-election.
However, he has now found himself embroiled in a different election-related controversy as the committee investigates the leaked audio tape in which senior police officers were allegedly plotting with a former Northern Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bugri Naabu, to remove the IGP from office.
Mr. Naabu admitted to recording the audio, in which discussants expressed doubts about the NPP's chances in the 2024 election with Dr. Dampare in office.
The Deputy minority leader in Parliament, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, revealed that the recording took place when Mr. Naabu met with senior police officers to discuss the outcome of the Assin North by-election, which the NDC candidate won.
During his appearance before the committee, COP Mensah acknowledged mentioning the need for some form of “collusive syndicate” in elections.
However, he denied using the term “mafia work” as heard in the leaked tape. He insisted that there was typically an element of “Mafia work” in elections aimed at undermining the process.
In the audio, COP Mensah expressed reservations about Dr. Dampare's management of the Police Service and suggested that his leadership would not benefit the NPP. He also revealed that he had been lobbying since 2017 to become IGP.
The parliamentary committee is now tasked with assessing the authenticity of the leaked tape and the implications of the discussions therein. COP Mensah, who has been sympathetic to the NPP, is set to retire from the Police Service this month after 31 years.
The Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election in 2019, during which violence erupted and left numerous people injured, brought COP Mensah's role into the spotlight.
He denied any involvement of Police SWAT team members under his command in the violence, despite videos showing police logos on the vehicles used during the incident.
The Electoral Commission also criticized the security operation around the election as unprofessional, which COP Mensah supervised.
The parliamentary inquiry into the leaked audio tape comes amid growing concerns about the security situation and political developments in Ghana, particularly as the country prepares for the 2024 elections.