…As Defence Minister Transfers UN Account From Forces Pay Office To His Office
The Ghanaian Lens can today reveal that at least one of the over twenty persons aspiring to lead the ruling New Patriotic Party into election 2008 is deeply worried over what he sees as a ploy aimed at giving Dr. Addo Kufuor, the Defence Minister brother of the President, an undue advantage, financially.
The worried NPP presidential aspirant is complaining about a move that saw the management of the United Nations Account, which is known as the Armed Forces Suspense Account, being yanked from the Defence Financial Controller, to be managed by the Minister's office.
In interacting with The Ghanaian Lens over the weekend, the worried aspirant left no doubt at all that he sees the move as a means to bolster Dr. Addo Kufuor's war-chest financially.
The worried aspirant, who spoke to The Ghanaian Lens on strict conditions of anonymity, asked, “why now? What could be the compelling reason for taking the management of those funds away from the Financial Controller who has all these years been managing the accounts?”
When it was pointed out to him that the move could have been as a result of some anomalies that might have been detected with how the account was being managed, the worried aspirant retorted, “even if it is the case that some irregularities were detected with the management of the account, is the property remedy that the account should now be placed directly under the Minister's office?”
Pressed to explain why he thinks that placing the management of the said account directly under the Minister's office could give the Minister an undue advantage financially, the aspirant replied, “everyone knows that, thanks to an unhealthy precedent that was set by the NDC when it was in government, the accounts of the Military are not subject to the same kinds of auditing as other public accounts therefore the public really has no chance of knowing how monies in those accounts are being used.”
“Now, at a time when we are all engaged in such a capital-intensive project as campaigning, and when some of the competitors are clearly throwing cash around like there is no tomorrow, I am deeply worried that the President would seemingly approve of a move by his brother to take control of the management of any account of the Military, not to talk of the UN account that nobody really knows anything about,” the worried aspirant stated.
Asked if he was suggesting that Dr. Addo Kufuor might be using monies in the account to fund his campaign towards realization of his presidential ambitions, the worried aspirant replied, “let me answer by reminding you that this is the same account that the NDC used to guarantee the controversial purchase of the Gulf Stream III Presidential Jet, which was sold by Addo Kufuor, also under a hail of controversy. Notice that the NDC did not take the money out of the account, they rather used the account to guarantee the purchase of aircraft. What it means is that the account could be used to guarantee loans. People do not necessarily have to take money out of the accounts per se.”
When reached to confirm or deny the story as told by the worried aspirant, the Director of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Nibo, said that he was not aware of any such move.
Meanwhile, as at the time of going to press, efforts by The Ghanaian Lens to get the Defence Minister to comment on the matter yielded very little fruits.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get through to the Minister's mobile phone, apparently because the Minister is on a 3-day garrison inspection of the Northern Sector, The Ghanaian Lens finally managed to get through to the Minister's Military Attaché, one Maj. Asare, who, apparently upon consulting the Minister, came back to tell us that the Minister has nothing to say beyond whatever we were told by Col. Nibo.
“Sir, are we to take it that the Minister would neither confirm or deny that he has caused the Management of the Accounts to be brought under his office, and that he is asking us to rely on Col. Nibo's response that he [Col. Nibo] does not know anything about such a move” The Ghanaian Lens enquired.
“Col. Nibo is the official mouthpiece of the Military so whatever he tells you is the official response,” Maj. Asare repeated, studiously refusing to be drawn out.
However, a few minutes later a man who identified himself simply as the Chief Director of the Ministry of Defence called but he too would neither confirm nor deny that the management of the account has been brought under the Minister's office.
The United Nations Account, which is known as the Armed Forces Suspense Account, is the account into which payments made by the UN for the use of Ghanaian troops for peacekeeping exercises all over the country.
Ghana being one of the largest contributors to Peace Keeping Operations all over the globe, there can no doubt that the account is an extremely fat one.