Top Cop Arrested Over Police Recruitment Scam

The Director General of Human Resources of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Patrick Timbillah, has been interdicted and put under house arrest.

The action was the latest fallout from the biggest recruitment scandal involving hundreds of victims which hit the law enforcement agency recently.

COP Timbillah’s interdiction followed a recommendation of a special taskforce empanelled by the Police Administration to probe the scandal which attracted image-denting headlines for the police service.

Action Mode
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, was said to have moved into an action mode when news about the scandal hit the public domain, calling for an immediate investigation.

Taskforce Members
The taskforce is made up of DCOP Bright Oduro, Chairman, in-charge of the Police College; Chief Supt Tabiri of CID Headquarters; DSP Akorli of the Legal Department of the Ghana Police Service; Supt Ayamwine of the Property Fraud Unit; ASP Justice Nana Oppong of Central Police Station, Accra; and D/Sgt Thomas Prempeh, Nima Police Station.

The Director General of Public Affairs, DCOP David Ampah Benin, told the media that in view of the implementation of the taskforce’s recommendation, ‘Timbillah is not supposed to move out from his house because he is likely to interfere with the investigations’.

Explaining what informed the interdiction and house arrest, DCOP Ampah Benin said the taskforce had stumbled upon text message exchanges between the top police officer and some victims of the scam and other forms of correspondences.

Some victims of the scam had written statements to the police, naming suspects including policemen who were picked up from outside Accra in a swoop which appeared to be continuing.

Incidentally, COP Timbillah had condemned the victims for trying to use unapproved means to enter the police service, after the scandal broke.

He said recruitment into the police service was not like buying groundnut by the roadside, charging prospective police recruits to use the appropriate procedures to enter the service.

“Every police officer found to have been involved in the police recruitment scam will not be shielded,’ COP Timbillah had said.

Unfortunately, COP Timbillah is now the sixth person so far arrested in connection with the scam.

COP Timbillah is being investigated because it involves recruitment and therefore falls under the human resource directorate of which he is director general.

Other suspects as paraded by DCOP Ampah Benin at a press conference on Thursday were Richard Harrison, a 30-year unemployed man arrested at Adentan near Accra, (who was alleged to have collected GH¢4200 from one Ashrifa Sukuru with a pledge that he would enlist Ashirifa’s brother, Achirifa Jirlima and Sukuru Dawuda into the Police Service); PW/Constable Ruth Agyiri, 27, a policewoman stationed at Koforidua in the Eastern Region and Pastor Paul Danso arrested in Tarkwa Atuabo.

The rest were G/CpL  Gideon Sarpong of the Police Visibility Unit, Takoradi, who was mentioned by Pastor Paul Danso as the one who asked him to collect the money; and Amos Brown, a 40-year radio presenter at Silver Radio, Takoradi.

Timbillah Speaks
When DAILY GUIDE managed to speak to COP Timbillah, a former Accra Regional Police Commander, yesterday, following the development, he said since investigation was ongoing it would not be prudent to make any remarks which could thwart efforts towards unearthing the truth.

He however said that he had written a statement already.

Biggest Scam
In what was described as the biggest recruitment scam to hit the Police Service, hundreds of youth made up of both senior high school and tertiary institution graduates trooped to the various police training schools in the country last weekend to ostensibly commence a six-month basic recruit training prior to their enlistment as Constables.

Unfortunately, the appointment letters they clutched were fake, although they bore the signature of COP Patrick Eden Timbillah.

The Police Administration denied any recruitment was going on in any of the training schools.

Appointment Letters
It was when the victims cried out after turning up at the various training centres with their chop boxes and items stated on the prospectuses attached to the fake appointment letters that the media picked up the story which was even carried on the BBC.

The appointment letters bore the signatures of COP Patrick Timbillah with unusual similarities – a deficiency on the part of the brain behind the scam.

Some of the victims who claimed to have come from the three Northern Regions, said they were made to believe that the opportunity  was restricted to only indigenes of those parts of the country and were made to part with amounts ranging from as low as GH¢1,500 to GH¢10,000.

A certain Aisha Asumda, a shea butter seller, a kingpin in the scam, is also helping in the ongoing investigation.

Fidelity Bank
One of the victims, a certain Joana Akopoka Azoo, said she paid an amount of GH¢2,000 into the account of Aisha Asumda’s Fidelity Bank account number 2400020851811.

Some victims have started returning to their places of origin, resigning to fate.

Mr Timbillah served as regional commander for the Accra and Ashanti Commands, carving a fantastic image for himself.

News about the development was received with shock by both other ranks  and superior officers across the country, some of who could not resist praying that he comes out of the problem unscathed as they spoke to DAILY GUIDE on anonymity.

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