President J.A. Kufuor has instructed his lawyer, J.K.A. Agyeman, a former President of the Ghana Bar Association, to take appropriate steps to clear his name of allegations of impropriety levelled against him by the Weekly Standard newspaper.
This was contained in a press release signed by Andrew Awuni, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman yesterday.
The release said: “President Kufuor has described the story, published about a month ago, as false, aimed only to tarnish his hard-won reputation.”
It recalled that the President gave the paper a two-week ultimatum to either substantiate the allegations or retract them and apologise, but the ultimatum had since expired.
President's latest move is aimed at clearing the air and to establish his innocence," the release said.
The Weekly Standard edited by Victor Smith, a former Special Aide to ex-President Rawiings, has been serialising what it describes as excerpts of a botched oil business deal with an unnamed Kuwaiti company, and claims that the deal has landed the President in a whopping cost of 5.5 billion dollars in arbitration fees, four billion dollars of which he has been able to offset.
In an interview on Joy FM's Super Morning Show on Thursday, October 16 in which he claimed that he was speaking from impeccable sources and urged Ghanaians to demand of the President, where and how he got the money to clear the bill.
On the same programme, Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper, which also published an interview with President Kufuor on the matter, said the President had categorically denied the allegation and wondered why Mr Smith would want to put out an untruth and expect the President to react.
Mr Baako said: "The law provides that he who alleges must prove,” adding that, he believed the publication was a farce.
In reaction, Mr Smith said it would be wishful thinking on the part of President Kufuor to expect any retraction and apology, and urged him to proceed to court, because he was ready for them.
He maintained that the President knew "within his heart" that he had been involved in the said deal and for which the "partners" were trying to exact the remainder of 1.5 billion dollars.
At an earlier news conference on October 16, Mr Awuni denied the allegation, describing it as a wicked lie and a smear campaign against the President and the NPP in the run-up to the December general elections.
"In a similar fashion as the Kuwaiti oil lie, some mischievous propagandists have produced and are circulating a so called list of government officials, their account numbers and amounts to their names.
“The amounts listed in this document are so huge that their sum total will exceed the sum deposits in all banks in Ghana put together. That is how disingenuous the originators of the documents are,” he said.
Mr Awuni said the documents were being distributed to the public, including the military barracks, in order to provoke ill-feelings of the army against President Kufuor and the citizenry.