Francis Poku Refutes…‘Wikileaks Story’

Mr. Francis Kwaku Poku, former Minister of National Security, has categorically refuted allegations contained in the latest series of ‘Wikileaks disclosures’ to the effect that he and former President J.A. Kufuor had... ...had a meeting with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Ms Pamela Bridgewater, a former US Ambassador to Ghana, during which he (Francis Poku) intimated that former President Jerry John Rawlings suffered from clinical depression. The ‘Wikileaks disclosures’ alleged that “according to Mr. Poku, psychiatrists who have treated Rawlings view him like a child who wants his toy back (in this case the presidency). Rawlings suffers from being abandoned at school as a child, he opinioned. Kufuor recalled an incident when, as President, Rawlings climbed a tree in the Castle and would not come down, reportedly in part the effect of his wife’s refusal to medicate him”. The disclosures also claimed that the “Minister of National Security, Francis Poku, who was the only other GoG official in the room during much of this conversation, inserted that Rawlings suffered from severe depression and takes regular anti-depressant medication”. (See yesterday’s edition of The Herald, Page 3). Mr. Poku was alleged to have made these uncomplimentary comments about former President Rawlings at a meeting on March 8, 2007 which was allegedly arranged by Rev. Jesse Jackson Snr., who was in Ghana for the 50th Jubilee Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence. “I want to put on record and state categorically that I have never been in any meeting with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Pamela Bridgewater and President Kufuor at the same time during which I made the comments attributed to me in the Wikileaks report. Never. Indeed, I have never made those comments or statements to any US official or diplomat anywhere and at anytime,” emphasised an angry Mr. Poku in an exclusive telephone chat with the Editor-In-Chief of The New Crusading GUIDE, Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako yesterday afternoon. Mr. Poku made it clear that he had never had any direct or indirect interaction with Doctors and/or psychiatrists who may have been treating or handling former President Rawlings to have provided him (Poku) with the opportunity to access or be told about the state of physical or mental health of the former President. According to him, even if he, in his official capacity as Minister of National Security or National Security Co-ordinator, had come across any such confidential medical information on the former President, it would have been highly unprofessional on his part to have divulged it to US Diplomats and Politicians as implied in the allegations contained in the latest edition of the ‘Wikileaks disclosures’. “I never met or interacted with any Rawlings doctor who could have given me the kind of information contained in that report. The allegation is a figment of somebody’s imagination. I categorically deny ever making any such allegation to any diplomat or official, American or non-American during my tenure as Minister of National Security,” he emphasised. Reacting to other aspects of the ‘Wikileaks disclosures’, the former Minister of National Security denied that he was ever escorted by Police Personnel in the course of the crisis which ensued in the wake of his turbulent exit from the Kufuor Administration. He, however, conceded that his official residence was surrounded by armed police personnel. He also insisted that he properly and formally handed over to Dr. Samuel Amo, the then National Security Co-ordinator who was directed by the President to take over from him. “I made sure that I handed over properly to Dr. Amoo and I have a copy of my handing over notes which I can make public if I am challenged or compelled by circumstances, and so there is no question of any government or public resource coming into my possession,” Mr. Poku amplified. Mr. Poku further cautioned Ghanaians especially the media, social commentators and civil society groups to endeavour to appreciate the actual status of the diplomatic cables and/or communications delivered by foreign diplomats from their stations to their superiors and appointing authorities back home.