The declaration of the Takoradi Missing Girls’ DNA test result by the Ghana Police Service raises two categories of serious questions. One is whether or not the police care about how the public view them. Number two are questions that beg for answers that the Acting IGP James Oppong-Boanuh failed to answer at the press conference.
Do they care how we see them?
The Takoradi Missing Girls case can qualify to be one security case of post-2000 that has been widely followed by almost every Ghanaian. So how the police administration was conducting itself was “keenly” monitored. In the cause of investigations, what became evident ahead of the release of the DNA test result was that public acceptance of the outcome had already suffered a huge drawback when COP Tiwa Addo-Dankwa; National Head of the Criminal Investigates Department peddled those untruths on the progress of work.
After that public display of ineptitude on the part of the national investigative body, whichever the outcome of the DNA test result was going to be, the Ghana Police Service was going to suffer public acceptability of the results. Knowing this, the police administration needed a new strategy that was calculated at rebuilding public acceptability for the result.
Transparency during testing
One way they could have done that was to make the DNA testing procedures transparent to the families involved. But, in a rather shocking turn of events, the police decided to conduct the DNA test without “carrying along reasonably” the most important actors in the whole case. To me that was shocking, and it speaks to me that the police is less concerned of how the public views it.
But why was it important to have the families observe the month-long process? Well, no one gets to deny the outcome of the DNA test, as we have seen Priscilla Bentum’s family and two other families do after the release! When the families who had earlier questioned the police’s way of conducting the investigations come out to accept the outcome, that would have put the matter to rest, and many Ghanaians sympathizing with them (not the police) would have closure. It didn’t go like that so once again, the trust the public has for the Ghana Police Service has been dealt a hefty blow.
Breaking the news to the families
Another approach that exposed the Police Administration of being bereft of ideas on public engagement is how the Acting IGP chose to announce the final DNA test results. Really? One would have thought that when the final result of the DNA test was ready, they were to first engage the families “secretly” to brief them of their findings, answer questions they may have from the test before they organize a press conference to relay what the families already know to the public?
But “the police team was divided into four. One team came to our house, and the rest went to the three remaining families to inform us of the result. They came at about 7:30 pm. What I find surprising, which adds to my suspicions on this whole DNA result is that at the time the team were in my house on Monday, it was same time the IGP was doing his press conference in Accra. This is not how we thought such sensitive matter would have been communicated to us” Amos Kojo Obeng Tawiah, uncle to Ruth Quayson told me in a telephone interview.
Another family stated that “I did not hear it from anywhere before the police team came to me. But I later realized that whilst they were with me in my house, the IGP was also informing the public at about that same time…This I feel was not the best” Father of Priscilla Bentum Mr. Francis Bentum stated in a telephone interview with me.
This approach smacks the Police Administration led by the IGP of a lack of respect for the sensitivities of the families and a lack of professionalism in the Ghana Police Service.
To make matters worse and add to the dwindling spate of confidence for the police, the Police Administration failed to provide information which could have brought closure for the four families, and by extension, Ghanaians as a whole. They ended up aiding Ghanaians to cast more doubt on their professionalism and transparency. Questions that the police should disclose include the following:
A. Did the result establish how each of the girls was killed? Was it as a result of a bullet fired, forced sex, strangling or what? What’s the cause of their death? Why are these questions important? It will play a huge role in providing closure to the families and win some trust for the police for a good job done!
B. When did each of the girls die? This is because police statements had it that the girls were not kidnapped on the same dates. Does the DNA test on the bones support the dates or periods of their kidnap or death?
C. Samuel Willis, the lead kidnapper was arrested on Sunday 30th December 2018. He broke jail on Monday, December 31 2018, a day after he was arrested. He was rearrested on Thursday 3rd January 2019. Did Samuel murder the girls before he was arrested the first time on Sunday 30th or after he broke jail? A DNA test should be able to provide when each of them was murdered.
D. DNA test uses probability parameters to arrive at conclusions. What were the probability results of each of the bones when marched with each of the four family samples? For example, what was the probability score of the bones of Pricilla Kuranchie, when it was marched with the DNA of the family member whose swabs were collected? 99 per cent, 80 per cent or what? What final probability did each of the bones score with the DNA from each of the families?
If this detailed information was provided during the one-sided press conference, the doubt and the state of anxiety the families find themselves would have been cured. That would have also boosted the dwindling confidence people have in the police force, especially when COP Tiwa lied about the whole investigations from the onset.
By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/ ourstorisonline.com