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Monday, October 5, 2009

Rawlings Fingered In M&J Scandal

A new Chapter is about to be opened in the ongoing Mabey & Johnson bribery scandal, as a group of Ghanaians in the United Kingdom & Ireland demand that ex-Rawlings addresses questions pertaining to the debacle.

According to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) UK & Ireland branch, since the scandal occurred at a time when Mr Rawlings, was President, it behooves him to “state clearly to the nation what he knew and what his role in the matter was, including his failure to stop the corrupt officials that he appointed.”

The group, whose members attended the court proceedings leading to the conviction of M&J directors and naming of Ghanaian officials and politicians, mostly NDC Ministers, said former President Rawlings cannot sweep the matter under the carpet since his officials were neck-deep in the scandal.Even thought the scandal took place when Rawlings was in charge of the country, he had absolved himself of any wrongdoing and rather charged President Atta Mills to take action against the persons mentioned in the scandal.

Not less than six leading members of the NDC including the wife of the NDC founder, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, were mentioned in the bribery scandal. They were said to have lined their pockets with the bribe money amounting to several thousands of British pound sterling.
The British Court stated in its ruling that Dr George Adjah-Sipa Yankey, Minister of Health, took £15,000 as his share of the booty while Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Minister of State at the Office of the President, Osu Castle pocketed over £10,000 with Dr Ato Quarshie, former Minister of Roads and Highways, collecting a whopping £55,000 in cash.

Other NDC gurus mentioned in the scandal are Kwame Peprah, SSNIT Board Chairman and former Minister of Finance, who incidentally had served prison terms with Dr Yankey over the Quality Grain scandal where over $20 million was paid to an American woman for the cultivation of rice at Aveyime in the Volta Region; and Alhaji Baba Kamara, Ghana’s High Commissioner designate to Nigeria and former NDC National deputy Treasurer, who was the ‘political overseer’ of the Ghana Development Fund (GDF), a ghost fund of £75,000 established to support NDC activities.

Turning its attention to the persons mentioned in the scandal, the NPP group called for their immediate dismissal. Fearing that the reparation of over one million four hundred pounds payable to the Ghana government, which President John Evans Atta Mills expressed his willingness to collect, could be diverted to something unproductive, the group asked that it be put to good use.

When the amount is finally received, Parliament, the grouping asked, should monitor how it is disbursed. The grouping also showed interest in the investigations which President Mills mentioned soon after the news of the scandal broke, asking the Constitutional Select Committee of Parliament to compel the Attorney General (AG) to commence the necessary probe into the issue.

The media, the NPP grouping asked, should continue to highlight what it describes as the hypocrisy of the NDC government and ex-President Rawlings, “under whose watch this massive scandal of international dimension took place and to ensure that politicians are never again allowed to use our goodwill to line their own pockets.” Public demonstrations by anti-corruption NGOs, Christian Council and other religious organisations, have been called for by the UK-based pressure group to protest the M&J scandal.

A Crown Court in the United Kingdom gave a ruling recently against this major British bridge construction company for influencing through bribes, the award of contracts, in a number of countries including Ghana.Ghanaian public office holders under the Rawlings regime were said to have received various sums of money so Mabey and Johnson could win contracts for bridge construction in the country.
Discussions about the scandal continue to dominate the media landscape.

A new dimension would be added to it when government eventually makes good, its promise of ordering an investigation into the scandal. It would be recalled that during a programme on air, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice stated that in normal times, the officials should have stepped aside for investigations to go on, but was quick to add that she is awaiting the arrival of the President for the next line of action. For some political activists, the scandal has provided them with taunting words as they scream to each other “Mabey”, eliciting the sarcastic response of “Johnson”.
Source: Daily Guide

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