Legislators of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), particularly those who are from the Brong Ahafo Region, should use their share of the MPs’ Common Fund to reimburse victims of the DKM microfinance scam, if they really cared about the plight of those people as they appear to be touting, General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia has said.
Mr Nketia, also a former legislator, told Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra FM in an interview on Monday 19 September that the NPP and its MPs from the region, who are fighting on behalf of the 70,000 DKM victims who lost their investments, should go beyond lip service and show true concern by being benevolent with their share of the Common Fund.
The victims are mostly from the Brong Ahafo Region. They lost their investment after owners of DKM Microfinance Limited, Jastor Motors, God is Love and other financial institutions ploughed back their clients’ monies into their own private businesses thus rendering them incapable of paying the investors the hefty interests they had promised them. NPP MPs from the Brong Ahafo held press conferences and joined demonstrations in solidarity with the victims as part of their advocacy to get the government to intervene.
The victims have persistently mounted pressure on the government to reimburse them. They have threatened to vote against President John Mahama and the NDC in the December polls if the government failed to have their investments reimbursed.
In an earlier interview, however, Mr Asiedu Nketia wondered why the victims would demand that taxpayers’ money be used to reimburse them for their own bad investment decisions which had nothing to do with government.
Speaking on the issue on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Friday, Mr Asiedu Nketia said: “… Now those who are complaining, are they saying that when they take their individual investment decisions and things go wrong, we in government should take the taxpayers’ money … – which should have been used for road [construction], electricity provision, water, schools, health centres – we should divert that money and go and pay them because they took wrong investment decisions? Is this what they want to tell us?
“Or somehow they believe that they can fool Ghanaians into believing that when they say government should pay, it is not our tax money that the government is going to use to pay? But ask them: apart from your [taxpayers] money that we are implementing projects with, when you say government money, where is government money going to come from?
“So we don’t have any problem. If Ghanaians think that it is legitimate for us to apply the money which we are collecting to go and pay individual Ghanaians who have made wrong investment decisions, we’ll be too happy to proceed to do so. But they shouldn’t be deceiving people. From the beginning they said that the company belonged to the president and the wife so that is why they are calling on the president and the wife to pay – that lie has been exposed now … so they are moving to the next step – their MPs went to parliament to argue that the nation should consider this as a disaster and for which reason we should apply government money to do it. We don’t make disaster laws, it is parliament that makes those laws,” the former legislator told Prince Minkah.
He said: “When parliament decides that: ‘Well, whenever any citizen invests something wrongly, when they have profits they shouldn’t pay to government but when they run into a problem, we should use the taxpayers’ money to pay, if that is the law we’ll implement it.”
Mr Asiedu Nketia said he doubts seasoned former government officials in the NPP would offer such counsel to the party to be pushing that line. “… They have well-known people who know how state affairs are run. You have people like Osafo Marfo [former Minister of Finance]; other well-seasoned people are inside there. I’m not sure Osafo Marfo will come out advocating that we should use taxpayers’ money to go and reimburse people who have made their private investment decisions which have gone wrong.”
The victims who have formed a group known as ‘Customers of DKM, Jastor Motors, God is Love, Etc.,’ are threatening to drag Mr Asiedu Nketia to court if he fails to apologise to them for his comments.