Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Sousoudis goes home

Mr Michael Agbotui Sousoudis and his entourage arrived at the Kotoka International Airport on the morning of Tuesday December 3 to a welcome normally reserved for Ghana's political leaders.

Reports from Accra indicate that the Ghana Airways plane was met by singing groups dancing women clad in white (the traditional celebratory colour) and 'Wulomei' - Ga fetish priests who poured libation for the return of the man who was exchanged for a reported eight Ghanaians and their families in the celebrated CIA spy swap case.

Michael Sousoudis, who had been released from a US jail the previous week after pleading 'no contest' to espionage charges and been sentenced to 20 years in jail, was deported soon after as part of a deal struck between Ghana and the US.

He and his 'minder' Lt-Col Mensah Gbedemah had arrived in London last Wednesday for what was described as a 'recuperative stop' while their arrival arrangements were being worked out in Accra. They left on Monday evening and were met with the type of airport arrival ceremony usually reserved for Ghana's head of state or visiting foreign leaders.

Okudzeto and others released

In the same way as they were arrested on July 12 without any announcement or offical word, reports from Accra say they have been released. Messrs Tommy Thompson, Publisher/Managing Editor of the Free Press, Sammy Okudzeto, President of the Professional Bodies Association, Obeng Manu, the Sunyani lawyer and others have been seen around Accra.

It will be recalled that when the CIA story broke, five prominent Ghanaians were immediately arrested amid widespread speculation that they were connected with the CIA spy affair.

As the story has unfolded, the names of Tommy Thompson, Sammy Okudzeto, Obeng Manu, John Bilson and Johnny Botsio have not featured and no charges have been brought against them.

When the swap was done, there was again speculation that they were part of the deal, but reports from Accra indicate that they have been released as unceremoniously as they were arrested.

As we went to press, we had confirmation only of Tommy Thompson and Sammy Okudzeto but there was widespread belief that all those arrested at that time had been freed.

Eight 'agents' taken to Togo

A convoy of vehicles under heavy police guard reportedly took an undisclosed number of Ghanaians alleged to have been involved in CIA activities to a crossing point on the Ghana-Togo border on November 23. A report in the Ghanaian Times said that: the group included the four persons sentenced by the Public Tribunal to various terms of imprisonment and persons arrested after the Scranage Sousoudis case became public.

The paper said that this was the result of long, difficult, and complex negotiations between the Ghanaian and American authorities.

It hinted that an agreement was reached that Michael Sousoudis would be exchanged for Ghanaian CIA ‘agents' and 'traitors' and that Sharon Scranage, former CIA employee at the US Embassy in Accra, was prevailed upon by the US authorities to turn down Ghana's offer to receive her in Accra.

The four Ghanaians who were sentenced by the Public Tribunal are Stephen Baffour' Ofosu-Addo, a chief superintendent of police with the National Intelligence Organisation, Yaw Appiah, a former employee of the P&T Corporation, Felix Peasah, a former employee of the Special Branch and Theodore Atiedu, an inspector in the Intelligence Service.

Eight lose citizenship

The Ministry of Interior has issued a brief statement reporting that a number of persons in custody had been released. The statement said eight of such traitors had been stripped of their Ghanaian citizenship and expelled from the country.

Four US diplomats expelled

The PNDC has expelled four officials of the US Embassy. They are Mr Bruce Dean Tefft, Miss Annette Woodams, alleged to be the two CIA officers who recently arrived in the country, Mr Laurence Garufi, Director of the US Information Agency and Mr Robert Lee Kile, Administrative Officer in the Embassy.

Conveying the decision of the Government to the US Ambassador, Mr Fritts, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Obed Asamoah, stated that the Government is determined to avoid the recurrence of the events that led to the arbitrary arrest and detention of innocent Ghanaian citizens in the United States and to ensure actual compliance by the United States of understanding reached between the two governments.

Dr Asamoah indicated that the activities of the four persons as diplomats were wholly unacceptable and not conducive to good relations between Ghana and the US.

US retaliates

The American government has reacted to the expulsion of four American diplomats from Accra by the Ghana government.

An equal number of Ghanaian diplomats based in the United States were also given forty eight hours to return home. The decision to expel the Ghanaians also contained a warning that American economic assistance to Ghana may be reviewed.

Next week

There are many loose ends to the Sousoudis /Scranage CIA spy affair. Next week, the paper that led from the front in reporting the story will tie all the loose ends and give you the epilogue of the affair

talking drums 1985-12-09 educating women for progress