Checks made by The Statesman have revealed that Abu Mohammed, the former NDC Vice Chairman for the then Abuakwa constituency, was never rendered a cripple as a result of any beatings he suffered at the hands of thugs allegedly hired by then Parliamentary candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, as claimed by Fifi Kwetey Propaganda Secretary of the NDC and deputy Minister-designate for Finance Mr Kwetey, during last year's electioneering period when he sought to "set the records straight,' accused the NPP flagbearer for the elections of ordering his hired thugs to assault Abu Mohammed, also known as Commander, and other NDC activists at a collation centre at Tafo in the heated Abuakwa parliamentary elections.
At his vetting on Monday, the deputy Minister-designate reiterated his stance, insisting that the NDC activists were beaten on the orders of Nana Akufo-Addo. This generated heated exchanges between the NDC propaganda Secretary and Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, who insisted that the claim was false.
However, our investigations show Abu Mohammed was among a number of supporters of both the NDC and the NPP who sustained some degrees of injuries when a scuffle ensued between them on December 8, 1996 following the NDC"s attempt to tamper with the results of the parliamentary election which was won by Nana Akufo-Addo against his cousin, Owuraku Amofa. Nana Akufo-Addo won the seat.
Our checks show he was treated and discharged soon after. He went back, fully fit, to his duties as GPRTU Chairman at New Tafo and illegal chainsaw operator, our checks show. In 2005, however, he was knocked down by a vehicle at Tafo. His companion at the time, Inusah, who was also knocked down, however lost his life.
Although the accident affected his leg, Abu was never rendered a cripple, and only had to use a walking stick to facilitate his walking for some time.
The Statesman can reveal that for some time now, he has abandoned the use of the walking stick for support. Indeed, on February 20 this year, Abu was able to climb the story building of East Akyem Municipal Assembly at Kyebi where he joined colleague government appointees of the Assembly to be sworn into office.
Yesterday, Abu Mohammed was ferried from his Tafo base to Accra by the NDC to buttress Fifi Kwetey's claim. He was spotted limping heavily with the assistance of a walking stick. But, checks made by The Statesman indicate the walking stick is just an affectation, and the GPRTU chairman for New Tafo has been leading a normal life.
See tomorrow"s edition of The Statesman for explosive details on the events of December 8, 1996 incident, eye witness reports and other supporting documentation.
In a related development, Parliament yesterday approved the appointment of Rashid Pelpuo, Amadu Seidu, Tawiah Likpalimor, all as Ministers of State, and Seth Terkper as Deputy Minister of Finance following the submission of the report of the Appointments Committee.
All four were recommended for approval by consensus.
The appointment of Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister-designate for Finance has however been put on hold following the inability of the Committee members to agree on his suitability for office.
While the report covering the four other nominees was laid before the House yesterday, the report covering Mr Kwetey was conspicuous by its
Neither the Chairman of the Committee and the other members made direct reference to his appointment, though Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu indicated that the Finance Ministry needed "cool headed persons', in apparent reference to Mr Kwetey's perceived hot headedness, exhibited most recently during his vetting on Monday.
Indeed, Minority members of the committee opposed his appointment at the committee level but lost when it came to a vote, our sources say.
Mr Kwetey is the second appointee of the Mills administration who has run into trouble over their appointments. Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, whose vetting was boycotted by the Minority, was approved by secret ballot.
The Appointments Committee of Parliament on March 10 put together its report on the nominees, all of whom were vetted Monday March 9.
The minority contend that Mr Kwetey is unfit for the Deputy Finance Minister portfolio because he was among others, 'hot headed,' as well as allegations he made in his capacity as Spokesperson for the NDC Forum for Setting the Records Straight ahead of the 2008 Polls.
He is alleged to have called Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP a violent person, whose loyalists had attacked and brutalised an NDC leader in the Akyem Abuakwa Constituency in the 1990s, leaving him paralysed.
An NDC office in the Constituency was said to have been burnt down during the alleged attack.
'He (Fiifi Kwetey) is going into a ministry where figures matter, and if you care to know there are instances where if you send wrong figures to IMF you will be punished financially and we are of the view that given the man's own track record, is this the kind of man that you give the opportunity to play with our figures - interest rates, analysis.
These are mathematical things that you can't fiddle with in the name of propaganda.'
Mr. Kwetey's vetting lasted close to four hours, the longest ever in the history of vetting of government appointees in the country.