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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Corruption:Baba Kamara Breaks Silence On M&J Scandal

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High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Baba Kamara, has expressed dismay at the claim by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) that it has sent a written invitation to him to respond to the bribery allegations against him in the Mabey & Johnson scandal.

“I have not had such an invitation. Never!” he told DAILY GUIDE from Abuja, Nigeria yesterday.

Speaking exclusively to DAILY GUIDE for the first time since news about the Mabey & Johnson scandal made the headlines, Ghana’s new envoy to Nigeria asked why he would deny cooperating with such a constitutionally established body, more so “when I have nothing to hide in the subject”.

Kamara was alleged to be the conduit by which some of the bribe money got to the recipients. Exuding confidence as he took issue with what he considered a mis-representation of the true state of affairs, the High Commissioner explained that had he received such a request to appear to proffer what he knows about the case, he would not have hesitated to do so.

Earlier in the week, Justice Emile Short had told the media that of the six persons chronicled in the SFO (UK) documents, only two- Dr. George Adjah-Sipa Yankey and Edward Lord Attivor, former Chairman of State Transport Company- had responded to written invitations to come and defend themselves by the time the deadline for the obligation ended on October 31, 2009.

Mr Short threatened to use legal means to compel the persons to make an appearance during a radio interview a few days ago.

However, Alhaji Baba Kamara’s position appears to match that of Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface about the non-delivery of written invitations to the alleged beneficiaries of the largesse.

Alhaji Boniface had also expressed surprise earlier that CHRAJ claimed it could not find him to deliver an invitation for him to appear before it.

He told DAILY GUIDE that at the time CHRAJ claimed not to know where to find him, he was in his constituency, Salaga, adding that it was not difficult to locate. He was expected to submit his written response to the commission yesterday.

Following the breaking of the story, two ministers, Dr. Sipa Yankey of the Health Ministry and Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Minister of State at the Presidency, bowed out of government. Alhaji Baba Kamara, whose appointment as High Commissioner to Nigeria suffered a brief delay due to the scandal, was finally presented with his letters of credence when, according to a Castle source, President Mills was compelled to let go the hold on the envoy’s movement to his new duty post.

DAILY GUIDE sources, meanwhile, relayed that the relationship between Baba Kamara and the immediate past Minister of Health, Dr. Sipa Yankey, went frosty following the radio disclosure Sipa-Yankey made which suggested that the Ghanaian envoy met him over the Mabey & Johnson bribe and asked him to furnish him with his bank account, into which monies were allegedly paid.

The radio allegation was said to have sent disturbing signals to the Presidency because of the negative connotations it had.

Alhaji Baba Kamara told DAILY GUIDE he was sure that when Dr. Sipa-Yankey presents his statement to CHRAJ, it would vary from the radio station allegations he earlier made and his name (Baba Kamara) would not be part of the document because “there would be no basis for such”.

The High Commissioner’s brief intercourse with DAILY GUIDE from the city of Abuja opened a new chapter on the Mabey & Johnson saga, especially if Dr. Sipa-Yankey really avoided Baba Kamara’s name in his interaction with CHRAJ.

Alhaji Baba Kamara was mentioned alongside Dr. George Sipa-Yankey, Edward Lord Attivor, of the former State Transport Corporation, Amadu Seidu, former Minister of State at the Presidency, Dr Ato Quarshie, a former Minister of Roads and Highways and Alhaji Boniface in the case.

They were said to have benefited from the £750,000 largesse from Mabey & Johnson, a British bridge construction firm that sought to win projects in the country.


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