…SFO moves, only a ploy
TODAY hounds have established moves to cripple businesses of people suspected to be sponsoring opponents of the ruling party; the most hard hit being businessmen of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
However, others suspected to be sponsors of the minority parties like the CPP are in for a major jolt. In the case of the CPP, the clamp down on suspected financiers, TODAY discovered, feeds into maneuvers by the NDC to take over entirely the Nkrumah tradition.
In their stead, the NDC is prepared to create a new economic empire for some of the CPP stakeholders who are prepared to switch over to the NDC. Many CPP functionaries have been approached to serve in various capacities under the NDC administration and from our findings some of the CPP elements have fallen to the NDC overtures and will soon be unveiled.
The move forms part of a major scheme to crack down on the financial base of parties that are likely to offer stiff competition to the ruling party in the next elections.
With the margin of NDC's winning votes in the 2008 elections hanging precariously around 50, 000, operatives of the ruling party are scared stiff about the possibility of that whittling to a naught in the 2012 elections.
They often refer to how President Kufuor's and NPP's votes of over 400,000 in the 2000 and 2004 reduced drastically for the NDC to win in 2008 to underscore the scary posture of the NDC that it might not go beyond one term.
The NDC, investigations established, decided on such subtle draconian actions to ensure that the opposition does not get the necessary funds to offer the anticipated opposition.
The NPP in the run-up to the 2008 elections, embarked on a massive advertising blitz which outcome people believed was only blighted by the desire of the electorate for change.
Last Monday, the planned hounding started in Kumasi, the stronghold of the wNPP, where some businessmen, including former Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, George Ayisi Boateng, who are suspected to be financiers of the NPP were invited by Mr. Samuel Sarpong, head of the Ashanti Regional office of the Serious Fraud Office, to provide information on the businesses.
They were asked to provide their registration certificates, permits, nominal roll of staff, payee files, SSNIT contributions, company tax payments and copies of their financial statements. Our findings were corroborated by the NPP MP for Nsuta Kwamang Beposo in the Ashanti Region, Hon. Osei-Prempeh in a press briefing in Accra last Tuesday.
Contrary to Mr. Sarpong's submission that his outfit undertook similar exercises under the immediate past NPP administration, TODAY's findings show that nothing of that sort had taken place in the last eight years, the period that the NPP ruled the country.
Hon. Osei-Prempeh's assertion at the press briefing confirms the paper's findings. He wondered how many businessmen the SFO invited during the administration of the NPP and asked Mr. Sarpong to provide answers.
Mr. Sarpong however could not answer that when he was interviewed on the matter by a section of the media in Accra yesterday. A tax expert, who prefers to remain anonymous, said at such preliminary stages of information gathering, institutions like the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Registrar General's Department should be “asked to do that” and not the SFO.
According to him, it is only after these institutions have completed their investigations and made recommendations to the SFO that the next line of action can be taken.
According to Hon. Osei-Prempeh, the SFO has no right to invite private businessmen who have not committed any offence to produce their documents under section 13 of the SFO act.
Source: Today Newspaper