Ghana: 10 things about Albert Kan-Dapaah, the national security minister

By Kent Mensah
Posted on Friday, 7 October 2022 12:32

Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah
Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah. (photo: Keith Lane / Oxfam America)

The backbone for Ghana’s government, security minister Kan-Dapaah stays in the shadows. Here are 10 things you should know about him.

Sporting his trademark dark glasses, Kan-Dapaah brings three decades of political experience, including a few controversies, to President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo’s government.

Serving as security chief since January 2017, Kan-Dapaah has taken charge of the government’s fight against terrorism even as news breaks of cross-border attacks from insurgents based in neighbouring states.

However, among civic activists who have been protesting against the Akufo-Addo government, Kan-Dapaah has a reputation for being far more accessible and reasonable than some of his colleagues in the security system. “He has spoken out against security officers using force to subdue protestors – unlike many others in the government,” an activist in Accra tells The Africa Report.

Once an inveterate socialiser, these days Kan-Dapaah prefers life in the shadows. Here are 10 things you should know about Ghana’s national security minister:

1. A die-hard fan of José Mourinho, ‘the special one’

Kan-Dapaah is a keen reader, that’s his main hobby. When he is not reading and he wants to relax, he watches the beautiful game of football.

He pays special attention when one of the teams has his favourite coach – ‘The Special One’ Jose Mourinho – on the touchline. “I don’t support any particular team, but I support whatever team Mourinho is coaching,” Kan-Dapaah tells journalists.

2. Accounting major

They say the first rule in politics is to know how to count – whether it’s votes in the ballot box or in parliament. Kan-Dapaah chose the right professional training for these tasks, qualifying as a chartered accountant.

He was born on 14 March 1953 in Maase-Boaman, Ashanti Region. He attended Amoako Methodist Primary School and Acherensua Secondary School. He then studied accounting at the University of Professional Studies in Accra. After that he majored in accounting at the University of East London and the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy.

3. First foots on the ladder

Early in Kan-Dapaah’s career, he was appointed senior auditor for Pannel Kerr Forster, a private chartered accounting firm in Accra, Liberia, and London.

In the late 1980s, he moved to the public sector as auditor for the state-owned Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and later to the Electricity Company of Ghana.

He also held directorship positions at SSB Consumer Credit Limited, before his stints with Kabel Metal Ghana Limited and the state-owned media company, New Times Corporation.

4. Joining the number-crunching establishment

In 1996, he was elected as the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana, as well as the vice-president of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa. He is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (UK) and a member of the Ghana Institute of Chartered Accountants.

5. Invited into the academy

Beyond the institute and double-entry bookkeeping, 69-year-old Kan-Dapaah has written several books, including Parliament’s Role In The Fight Against Corruption.

He was a part-time lecturer at the School of Business Administration at the University of Ghana and also at the University of Professional Studies. In 2014, he was appointed the director of the Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) at the University of Professional Studies, Accra.

6. A New Patriotic Party loyalist wearing many hats

Kan-Dapaah was a member of Ghana’s parliament from 1997 to 2013. When the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ascended to power in 2000, he was appointed energy minister before being moved to the communications ministry, then to the interior ministry and finally, the defence ministry.

Prior to these ministerial roles, he served on several parliamentary committees: employment, communications, defence, interior, and mines and energy.

When the NPP lost the 2008 elections, he was appointed the chairman of the public accounts committee of Parliament. When Akufo-Addo won the 2016 poll, the experienced Kan-Dapaah was a natural choice for the sensitive national security post.

7. Pushing back against corruption claims

Kan-Dapaah’s record as energy minister came under scrutiny in 2013 over the sale of a drill ship owned by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for $24m.

The Herald newspaper in Accra claimed that out of the $19.5mn of sale proceeds earmarked for payment of a GNPC debt to Societe Generale, some $10m was diverted to Accra on Kan-Dapaah’s instructions.

However, Kan-Dapaah pushed back strongly against the allegations accusing The Herald’s editor, Larry Dogbe, of pursuing a political agenda against him. When he appeared before a Judgement Debt Commission,  Kan-Dapaah said there was nothing fishy about the transaction and no legal action was taken.

8. Sex, lies and videotapes

In January 2020, Kan-Dapaah was trending on social media in Ghana when he threw caution to the wind in a leaked video call with a woman said to be his mistress.

Engaged in an amorous conversation with the lady, whose face is not captured in the video, the security minister is seen modelling in pyjamas under the command of the purported lover.

This behaviour triggered public outrage, given that Kan-Dapaah is a father of four, but he shunned calls for his resignation.

9. Search me – at your peril?

On 8 September 2022, an aviation security official was suspended for conducting a pre-boarding search on Kan-Dapaah at the VVIP lounge of the Kumasi Airport.

In an act of sycophancy, the airport company said the act was an “embarrassment to the minister”. Following public uproar over the issue, the minister broke his silence, and the security personnel. “There was absolutely no disrespect,” he said. The airport later sent an emissary to apologise to him.

 

10. United in the Lodge

An avid Freemason, Kan-Dapaah was recently installed as an assistant grandmaster of the Freemasons in Ghana, a favourite rendezvous for members of the country’s establishment.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options