NDC Bribery Scandal Report Nails Top Executives?
Details are emerging that the 64-page committee report on bribery allegations against Ashanti Regional executives of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has indicted some top officials.
Though the report has not been made public, snippets picked by The Anchor revealed 16 out of 18 members of the party, who appeared before the committee as witnesses, have confirmed the incident.
The seven-member committee chaired by a former Regional Minister under erstwhile John Mahama administration, Samuel Sarpong, also has former Deputy Chief of Staff, Johnny Osei Kofi, as its secretary.
Even though the party has been tightlipped over the report, thereby fueling suspicion among the party rank and file – of an attempt at cover-up, Mr Osei Kofi said it is about time everybody gets the report to read.
Speaking exclusively to The Anchor, Johnny Osei Kofiquestioned the paper if it ever seen any person who takes bribe and collects a receipt?
The committee was set up by the NDC national executives, after series of allegations against some big-shots of the Ashanti Regional executives, as having been compromised by their opponents in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The executives, some of whom appeared before the Committee set up earlier this year, were reportedly enticed with huge but undisclosed cash amount, ostensibly to play it soft in the region with the NPP in the 2020 elections.
Names of executives that featured prominently in the barrage of allegations were; the regional chairman Andrews Augustus alias Nana Akwasi, as well as, Secretary Kwame Zu, who one time incurred the wrath of the Akyem Abuakwa State led by OkyenheneAmoatia Ofori Panyin, for certain comments he was alleged to have made.
The name of the regional director of elections, one Abofrah, was also mentioned as being one of the alleged beneficiaries.
The committee is being accused of shelving the report to save party’s image, especially at the time the party is embarking on intensive restructuring exercise and membership drive.
But according to the former Deputy Chief of Staff, it is false claim that the Committee which he was secretary to, is hiding its report from the public.
He said the intention was that: “We were trying to make sure that those who matter, initially, read it first before it goes out but now, journalists have gotten close to it and they are telling people”.
The now-lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) continued by saying, he agrees with party members who are expressing the desire to read about the report saying: “Actually, they must be interested not that we don’t want them to know about it, it’s their document.
It’s time everybody got a copy for them to say whether we did a good job or we did a bad job. It is an interesting report that which when people get access to it, we will all know how to be serious about conducting election. There is nothing in that report to hide”.
Mr Johnny Osei Kofi said, it is also untrue allegation that the report is yet to be released because Member of Parliament (MP) for the Asawase constituency, Mohammed Mubarak Muntakahad hijacked it or it indicts certain people.
The Committee, made up of noble and reputable members, he insisted, could not be influenced in any way to delay its release, stressing the “the Committee was such that, nobody could influence it. Muntaka doesn’t feature anywhere in the report”.
He told this reporter, as far as he was concerned, the 64-page report, has been handed over to the Ashanti Regional Council of Elders onAugust 15 and he’s also aware it has been presented to the national Council of Elders in Accra.
The comments byMr Johnny Osei Kofi, come in the wake of allegation within the party that some regional executives were bribed by the governing NPP to compromise them in the conduct of the 2020 general election.
Owing to the huge number of voter population of the region, it is always argued that, the moment the NDC is able to garner about 30 percent of the total votes cast, it is on its way to victory.
This, some say, may have informed the decision by the NPP to focus its attention on the opposition party’s regional executives, so that they will not be as vigilant as they are expected to, by their party.
The undisclosed amount was said to have been presented to the accused persons by a former Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) boss, who has in his possession, a video recording of the individuals.
But reacting to that aspect of the allegation, Mr. Osei Kofi said he could not disclose the details of the Committee report, but urged all those who are concerned to read the full report
He said the report entails a lot and will go a long way to help in the reorganization of the party. Mr Osei Kofi agreed with any party member that was concerned about the report and it release because it is the document for the party and by extension to the members.
“There is a lot in that report, if you read it, you will get the sense out of it. If you have a report of 18 people and 16 of them appear to be saying the same thing and others too….. But in a report too, it’s not everything you can put in but that doesn’t make some of them contentious
Because look, if you give me some sensitive information and you told me please these are the indicators, you can check if you check and its correct but you say look, if you mention my name, I will lose my job, what do you do? Do you betray your source”, he quizzed.
Some 18 members of the party including executives and accused appear before the Committee, to give account of what they know as far as the bribery allegation was concerned.
Even though Mr. Augustus Nana Kwame expressed his desire not to appear before it in a letter because according to him, he did not trust the Committee, he later agreed to appear and he did so in his own volition. He was one of the two people who appeared last before the Committee’s sitting.
According to the Secretary to the Committee, even though the regional chairman made himself available, his earlier decision not to make himself available was never used against him.
With regards to the monetary inducement, while Mr Osei Kofi continued to urge this reporter to get the report to be informed about the issue at hand, he said he could not tell if the said incident indeed occurred jokingly saying “You and I were not there”.
He continued “Have you seen any person who takes bribe and collects a receipt? That answers your question”.
The former Deputy Chief of Staff continued “Sometimes, some of these things even if they exist, it happens between two people unless somebody is recording and he is careless and he lets it out. It could be anything but when you read the report in totality, then you will deduce whether anybody has a reason to make any assumptions”.
He was however appalled that people who led in the election made the effort to defend themselves while before the Committee that they were not responsible for things they should have been responsible for.
“If you have top executives who say that these are not their responsibilities, then what business do they have occupying those positions? Adding “There were some times, things that are supposed to be true, we put before you and you say, oh no its not. The moment you say it’s not, then everybody accepts that it’s not”?
On whether a failed national Youth Organizer aspirant Ernest Brogya Genfi, had to rush from Tepa to the regional Electoral Commission (EC) office to sign on behalf of the NDC even though he was expected to be present to do so, he confirmed the claim.
“That is captured in the report, I know. Brogya, was not billed to be at the EC, he was at Tepa. He was asked to move from Tepa to the EC room to help with the collation.
He did that and it happened that he had to sign. You get the report and read and see what went on”, he repeated.
Earlier, reports had also said that the NDC’s regional election director Mr. Abofrah, was stopped from taking part in the latter part of the 2020 general elections because he was told by Mr Zu, that his work had come to an end as at 7 December, when the entire election had not completed aside casting of vote.
Touching on that the secretary to the Committee who will not want to go deeper into the report said “Abofrah and the Secretary, if you read the report, you will see whether actually he was sacked or he was not sacked because not only one person who talked about that issue.
At least, two and these were people who were working with him”.