The Communications Director of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Ernest Owusu Bempah has said former National Security Coordinator, Kofi Totobi Kwakye and Dr Obed Asamoah must answer for the whereabouts of the $2 million ‘bribe’ donated by ex Nigerian military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha to Ex President Rawlings.
According to him, these two personalities who were very powerful during the Rawlings regime are the best people to speak to what happened to that money which generated a huge controversy.
Ex President J.J Rawlings has in a recent interview with Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper, revealed that he received a cash amount of $ 2 million dollars from his then Nigerian counterpart late Sani Abacha.
The issue became a big scandal in Ghana following which the then NPP Minority in Parliament pushed for an independent board of enquiry to investigate the matter, but was turned down by the then Speaker of Parliament, Justice D.F Annan.
Mr Rawlings in the Newspaper interview stated that he was impressed about his late colleague Gen. Sani Abacha since he never asked him for the said amount nor sought his support financially.
He further added that his colleagues in government knew about the issue and didn’t know why he should be keeping these things secret.
“Moreover, I didn’t have any personal account to be putting these things into anyway. Besides we needed to use them for some national needs.”
However commenting on the issue on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show Wednesday, Kwaku Baako Jnr who broke the story eighteen (18) years ago in the then ‘The Guide Newspaper ‘maintained that ex President Rawlings received $5million and not $2million, adding that the former Ghanaian leader has been forced to come out publicly on the issue now because he fears an imminent disgrace that is to befall him.
“I suspect that Mr Rawlings has made this admission and disclosure because the current Nigerian President Buhari is undertaken a probe in corrupt activities in the past. Names are popping up…incidents are popping up. I hear the Nigerian Authorities will be consolidating all those things and make them public, I strongly suspect that our former President Rawlings is seeking to make a preemptive strike ahead of that official disclosure. It will be recalled that when this bribe issue came up, the Nigerian government at the time led by MaJ. General Abdul Salam Abubakar came out to deny that no money had come from the Nigerian government or leader to Mr Rawlings, and somehow it effectively killed the matter. For Rawlings to come back 18 years down the line and make this revelation is interesting.”
But speaking to sit-in-host Akwesi Nsiah on Si Me So on Kasapa 102.5 FM, Ernest Owusu Bempah stated that Mr Rawlings only received the money on behalf of Ghana but later had nothing to do with it.
“As a party we also know something; we’ll not sit down for people to tarnish the image of ex President Rawlings who we the NDP see as an inspiration to the party, whose ideals in politics which is probity, accountability and social justice has been incorporated into our party constitution.
“What at all is the issue with what ex President Rawlings has revealed. He’s indicated that that money was to help develop Ghana at a time we were in a transitional period from military rule to a democracy. That money was not Rawlings personal money it was for Ghana.
“I’m giving Ghanaians a lead…they should call Totobi Kwakye, some Ghanaians are saying that Rawlings took bribe, if they want to know exactly what happened to that money, Totobi Kwakye and Obed Asamuah, who are gurus in NDC right now must be questioned , that is what we know as a party. Rawlings has not received bribe and he’ll never take bribe. If Kweku Baako claims he’s a senior journalist and is accusing Rawlings of taking bribe, he should rather go at the two leading NDC stalwarts. If he’ not being pushed he should go ahead and ask Totobi Kwakye about the whereabouts of the money. Rawlings has not touched any money.
“Do you know that ex President Rawlings has kept the briefcase that contained the money until date for evidential purposes? Indeed he still has that bag. Find out who Totobi was in the Rawlings regime at that time. Rawlings is not corrupt,” Owusu Bempah fumed.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the two statesmen to speak to the issues have proved futile.