Soldier seeks answers after wife is deported from Germany to Ghana
Stars and Stripes August 4, 2006
WIESBADEN, Germany — A U.S. Army soldier whose wife has been arrested and deported to Ghana now faces the possibility of having his two adopted sons kicked out of the country as well.
German police arrested Isaac Senahey, 17, on Wednesday and are searching for Foster Tawiah, 17, who went missing the same day. The two teens are the adopted children of Spc. Maxwell Dapaah, 33, a member of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, who is a citizen of Ghana and moved to the U.S. in May 2002 before enlisting in the Army two months later.
Dapaah’s wife, Salomey Agyeiwah, was arrested on May 22 after German and Army authorities raided and searched Dapaah’s residence in the Hainerberg housing area. Agyeiwah was deported June 2 after the Army stripped her and the two boys of their Status of Forces Agreement protections. It was the same day Dapaah returned from his deployment to Iraq.
German police have charged all three Ghanaians of being in the country illegally.
German police in Wiesbaden told Stars and Stripes on Thursday that Dapaah had been given 60 days to appeal the revocation of his sons’ SOFA protections. When he failed to appeal in time, they moved to arrest and deport the boys.
Dapaah said he was never told he had 60 days to appeal their SOFA revocation. He said he did receive two memorandums June 2, stating the boys’ SOFA protections had been revoked. He said he didn’t get a copy of the memo revoking his wife’s SOFA status until Wednesday — two months after his wife was deported.
Lt. Col. Anne McRory, the 205th brigade’s rear detachment commander, said she got a copy of the memo revoking Agyeiwah’s SOFA protections when Dapaah was still in Iraq and had forwarded it to his chain of command there. She didn’t know if they gave him a copy before his hasty return to Germany, but she gave him the copy Wednesday.
What isn’t clear is why Agyeiwah was not given 60 days to appeal the rejection of her SOFA revocation.
“This is what I’m asking myself also,” said Dirk Reinhard, a German attorney adviser who is working on Dapaah’s case at Army judge advocate general’s office in Wiesbaden. “I find it a little bit strange.”
Dapaah said German authorities have leveled accusations that his wife, Agyeiwah, is actually his sister. McRory said she had not heard this accusation even though she was briefed on the case by Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID. “They never told that to me,” she said.
Dapaah denies that any member of his family has done anything illegal and has hired a German attorney to block the deportations of his adopted sons and to try to get their SOFA protections reinstated.
Dapaah, who wasn’t supposed to return from Iraq until September but returned early to deal with the situation, was unable to do anything to help his wife.
His residence was one of three Army housing units searched by German police with the assistance of Army CID and military police on May 22. All the people who lived in the units were from Ghana, though some are now U.S. citizens.
“We’re not terrorists, we’re fighting terrorists,” said Dapaah.
It is not known what roused the suspicion of German authorities, but Wiesbaden’s public prosecutor suspected that some of the Ghanaians living in Army housing were here illegally, according to a written statement from German authorities July 19.
That statement, reviewed by the Army’s CID prior to its transmission, was in response to a query Stripes made about Agyeiwah’s deportation. The statement said that the search turned up “extensive evidence” that Agyeiwah was in Germany illegally.
During the searches, German authorities and CID seized all documents and computers from the three homes, including passports, identification cards, SOFA identification cards and other paperwork, according to Dapaah and Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Lawer, whose housing unit was also searched in the raid. Lawer, originally from Ghana, is a U.S. citizen.
Three passports seized from Dapaah’s housing unit belonged to his relatives, who have never been to Germany, he said. One of those belonged to his sister. Two others belonged to his wife’s twin and another of her sisters, he said. These and other documents are listed in German court papers as suspicious.
Dapaah admitted his wife, Agyeiwah, had two passports from Ghana, one of which had errors. He said the Ghanaian authority that issued the erroneous passport told his wife to hold on to the document until she could return it to Ghana in person.
Also seized was Agyeiwah’s drivers license, which bears a different date of birth from the one on her passport, according to German court documents.
Both U.S. Army Europe public affairs and CID declined to discuss the status of an Army probe launched against Dapaah, saying only that the investigation was not yet complete.
Dapaah was told Wednesday by McRory that CID is investigating him, and he could face a court-martial. McRory said she expects CID’s investigation to take another 30 days to complete. She declined to elaborate what Dapaah might be charged with, though German authorities are building a case that alleges his family used numerous fake documents to get into Germany and stay here.
Until the arrest of one adopted son and the disappearance of the other, Dapaah had five dependent children living with him in Wiesbaden. Three are his biological daughters, he said. His daughters are still living with him.