Former President Jerry John Rawlings has taken exception to what he described as an attempt to dent his reputation through the lodgment of ¢600 million into his bank account. According to Mr. Rawlings, he had gone to his bankers only to find the money lodged into his account. This, he claimed, was a major source of concern to him, causing him sleepless nights.
This, Daily Guide learnt, was on the tall list of complaints the former president made to the high-powered delegation sent to him by President John Agyekum Kufuor, led by Council of State Chairman, Prof Daniel Adzei-Bekoe. He said he was convinced that the money was an attempt to paint him as a corrupt person.
Snippets from the parley between the delegation and the Rawlings team indicate that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) founder was assured that the money may have been paid to him as accumulated and enhanced allowances.
Daily Guide checks indicate that the payments may have been a result of the recommendations contained in the Chinery-Hesse Committee on Pay Structure which had since been submitted to the Finance Committee of Parliament.
Under the 1992 Constitution, the President, on leaving office shall receive a gratuity in addition to pension, equivalent to his salary and other allowances and facilities prescribed by Parliament. The salary, allowances, facilities, pensions and gratuity shall be exempt from tax.
However, Mr. Rawlings said he needed explanation on the money paid into his account. The former president could, meanwhile, not give his word on whether he would honour the independence celebration invitation sent to him by President Kufuor.
He used most part of the four-hour meeting to raise issues concerning his household and the NDC, particularly, jailing of his former appointees, especially Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, MP for Keta.
At that point, Daily Guide learnt, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of the 31st December Women Movement and a director of Caridem Development Company who is also on trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state, said Mr. Rawlings would find it difficult to be part of the jubilee celebration while his wife was being tried in court.
The invitation, the Rawlings side pointed out, came rather too late, indicating that the former President may after all not be part of the anniversary celebration which would be attended by world leaders and other dignitaries.
Among other grievances Mr. Rawlings placed on the table were the killing of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II during the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis and the death of Alhaji Issa Mobila, Northern Regional Chairman of the Convention People's Party (CPP) who died in detention in 2004. He complained also that he had suffered series of humiliation in the hands of the NPP administration.
Mr. Rawlings and his team, on taking critical look at the government delegation, expressed its doubt whether there was no ulterior motive behind dispatching such eminent citizens just to invite him to attend the Ghana at 50 celebrations. He told the delegation that he would make his opinion known after receiving response on his grievances. The delegates promised to deliver his concerns to the government.
In all, the delegation included members of the Council of State, traditional authorities and the clergy who also received tongue-lashing from the former president for failing to call the government to order, according to him.
Other members of the delegation were Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, President of the National House of Chiefs, Cardinal Peter Appiah-Turkson, Catholic Bishop of Cape Coast, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, National Chief Imam, Prof Miranda Greenstreet, Mrs Emma Mitchel, Rev Dr. Paul Kofi Fynn, Chairman of the Christian Council, Madam Ama Busia and Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Council of State members, who are expected to brief the President this week on the outcome of the mission.
Mr. Rawlings, supported by his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman was joined by NDC flagbearer, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin, deputy Minority Leader, Eddie Doe Adjaho, NDC Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, Party General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia and Tony Lithur, lawyer for Nana Konadu among other NDC big wigs.