Cocaine saga: Ex-NACOB Board Chair hits back at gov’t

Captain Baffour Assasie Gyimah

The chairman of the dissolved Board of NACOB has challenged the decision by president John Mahama to do away with the board in the wake of the recent drug scandal that has hit the country.

Captain (Rtd) Baffour Assasie-Gyimah says the dissolution appears to be a case of sacrificing a weak and innocent lamb to appease an angry and besieged god.

In a statement issued in Accra, Captain Assasie-Gyimah was even more disappointed with the conduct of some ministers of state who he said had made disparaging remarks against the Board without attempting to speak to officials.

The 16-member board was dissolved by President John Mahama a few days after a suspected drug courier, Nayele Ametefe was busted in the UK.

Following the bust, NACOB issued a statement saying it collaborated with the UK authorities to arrest the lady but the UK High Commission in a statement denied that claim.

Assasie-Gyimah however says he has incontrovertible evidence NACOB indeed played a role in the arrest of Nayele Ametefe.

The following is the full statement;

Below is the full statement by Captain (Rtd) Baffour Assasie-Gyimah


In life, I have learnt to be a team player and not to complain nor talk too much in public. I am also a seaman and I feel the pain in building a boat so I never rock it nor even beach it. I am however constrained to come out openly and talk a little about developments over the recent seizure of cocaine at Heathrow airport involving a traveler from Ghana.

On matters of collaboration between partners in the drug war, one would have wished he does not talk about them in public.

However in certain situations one would have to give praise to your collaborators and also warn drug lords to take note that the war on them is universal and not merely homegrown where they may succeed in influencing some local officials.

I must show my appreciation to His Excellency the High Commissioner of Great Britain to Ghana. At least when I made enquiries from him over a statement I heard he was going to release on the arrest, he was kind enough to discuss the issue fully with me.

I must also admit that his statement to the effect that the British authorities had no prior information about the suspect’s travel to London with drugs could very well be true. That in itself also does not necessarily mean that there was no collaboration between partners here in Ghana on the matter. Official tip-offs may not be the only tools for collaboration. In matters like this, even knowledgeable people who are not directly involved may rightly assume certain positions only because they are limited to only what they see. It is just like the proverbial blind man touching the trunk of the elephant and thinking the whole big beast is a snake!

In the same vein, I need to say that the statement issued by the Deputy Executive Secretary of NACOB which stated among other matters that in the case of the lady suspect etc. there was collaborative effort between NACOB and its British partners cannot be doubted. I have become privy to hard evidence on it. Indeed as at yesterday, the 22nd day of November, 2014, the collaboration was still on-going and it was yielding very startling results. I will leave that for now. It is for these reasons that I fully support my said officer and I as Chairman of the Board have taken full responsibility for his position.

Let me make one thing clear, a few days ago I also took over the investigations into how the illicit drugs got into the aircraft. You would not be surprised to learn that we have uncovered more interesting issues and we also know how the drugs got into the airplane. Arrests have been made and the hunt for others seriously underway.

I must now say that since this event took place, some ministers of state have made disparaging remarks against NACOB without prior checks and verifications. I have been around all this time and up to this day the 23rd day of November, 2014 no government official has even called to find out what they thought had gone wrong.

They have not talked to my officers at all and they are bold to make categorical statements about actions and inactions of NACOB.

It would therefore appear very unfortunate for a Minister of State who does not even know the inner workings of NACOB and the nature of collaborations to express doubts over matters when simple checks could easily erase his doubts. It was not for nothing that we contacted the British High Commissioner when we wanted clarifications.

I need to emphasise that the Governing Board of NACOB and the NACOB as an administrative entity tasked with the day to day running of the entity were never implicated in any way in this drug scandal saga. This is a fact. NACOB is not in charge of airport security. NACOB is not in charge of the V.I.P lounge.

On the dissolution of the Board as announced, all I can with humility say is that the power to appoint, reconstitute on expiration of terms and dismissals with cogent reasons, is the exclusive prerogative of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana.

When dissolutions are however announced ostensibly creating the erroneous impression as if the Board had done something untoward, that could be very disheartening to say the least. It affects the hard won integrity and reputation of the individual members of the Board who have striven at great sacrifices to put NACOB on an even keel.

Humility with respect is not synonymous with humiliation! I cannot understand why the dissolution took place. Could it be a case of sacrificing a weak and innocent lamb to appease an angry and besieged god? No. The members are not weak. We are too strong for any god to devour. In truth,this is not the way my Board should exit NACOB.

To conclude, I would say that in the absence of the normal courtesies to say the proper “good-bye” to my very distinguished Board members, I take this opportunity to salute and thank you all the Seventeen Member Board. You have been wonderful.

All I can say at this point is that I wish I could clone all of you to the tenth power and offer you to cleanse the mess in Ghana like you have done for NACOB. You are an epitome of honesty, hard work, incorruptibility, non-politicization and patriotism. You never said it was not worth dying for Ghana!


1. Rev. Dr Fred Deegbe- Representative of the Christian Council

2. Mr. Stephen Adongo- Former Director of Social Welfare

3. Mr. Robert Kwami- Representing the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

4. Mr. Joseph Nyoagbe- Registrar, Pharmacy Council.

5. Mrs. AkuaAmartey- Representing the Food and Drugs Authority.

6. Miss Gladys Gertrude Aikins- Representing the Attorney General and Ministry for Justice and former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

7. Sheikh Ishaak Ibrahim Nuamah- Islamic Cleric representing the Muslim community.

8. Hon. James Agalga- Deputy Minister for Interior.

9. Commodore MRN Yawson- Representing the Ghana Navy.

10. Group Capt. Felix Asante-Representing the Ghana Air force.

11. COP Prosper Agblor- Director General/CID representing the Ghana Police.

12. Mr. KosiviDegbor- Representing the National Security Coordinator and the immediate past Deputy National Security Coordinator.

13. Mr. Samuel OforiAdjei- President of CHASS, representing the Second Cycle Institutions.

14. Dr. AkwesiOwusuOsei- Chief Psychiatrist, representing the Ministry of Health. 15. Mr. Ben Quaye- Former Deputy Director of Prisons in charge of operations representing the Ghana Prisons Service. 16. Mr. Yaw AkrasiSarpong- Secretary to the Board and Executive Secretary of NACOB





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