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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Scancem saga: Rawlings can't afford a lawyer

Former President Rawlings wants the Scancem bribery allegation investigated
Former President Rawlings wants the Scancem bribery allegation investigated

Former President Rawlings has denied a report in a Norwegian newspaper in 2007 that he and his wife took millions of dollars as bribe from an international cement company, Scancem, headquartered in Norway.

The allegation published by a Norwegian newspaper, Dagens Naeringsliv has since been challenged by the former first family but the newspaper has maintained that it still stands by the publication and has enough evidence to substantiate its claims.

The former President took the trouble to convince his audience in a statement that he and his wife had lived simple lives throughout his long-serving term in government and beyond.

He went on as usual to challenge persons who were eager to probe further into the matter to investigate every aspect of his life and confirm whether he had stashed stolen wealth in offshore accounts.

"They can call on the CIA, Interpol, etc to investigate, they will find nothing," he said.

The former President ruled out any possibility of being corrupted by whatever means, saying that, "When people have been punished for corrupt acts under my watch how can I turn around and practice the same vices."

The country's longest serving president told his audience that he did not have sufficient funds to hire an expensive international lawyer to pursue a libel case against Dagens Naeringsliv, which has wide circulation in Norway.

"If I had the money I will gladly pursue the newspaper to clear my name. We have recently completed a house at East Legon and those who care to know will realise that it took us years of difficulty to finish putting up that house. People make wild stories about having properties across the country and beyond. It is absurd," former President Rawlings said.

"The false accusations made against me have been proven wrong once again but at what cost! I am a patriot and serve the greater interest of my people. Indeed throughout the sub region I have ensured over the years that Ghana has played and continues to playa pivotal role," Mr. Rawlings boasted.

He continued, "I have received great hospitality sine I have been here and I am saddened that this latest propagation of an untruth originated here in Norway. The incident allowed members and people associated with former President Kufuor to malign my family and me.

“To print and utter publicity, words that impugned on my credibility and integrity and all but challenged my perpetual chant of accountability, probity and freedom and justice for all.”

Mr. Rawlings as usual used the occasion to lambast former President Kufuor and the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP), saying that "the eight years of the immediate past government exposed a regime that totally neglected the common good by causing hardships through avoidable energy crises, unprepared and ill equipped disaster management units, inability to stem rising crime and open allowance of drug smuggling. Alongside this arrogant and unashamed self-enrichment and massive corruption were public knowledge and continued with impunity.

The NPP eventually paid the price through the will of the people, but the country and the rest of Africa could have paid a price that is too ghastly to contemplate”.

According to the former President, the experience in Ghana during the rule of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) between 2001 and 2009 clearly indicated that even though the constitution was in placed, massive influence over both the legislature and judiciary by the executive led to a corrupt and abused system and a breakdown in the value of democracy.

Source: Crusading Guide/Ghana

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