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27.09.2002 General News

PV Obeng at NPP Cabinet meeting?

By Chronicle
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THE NAME of Paul Victor Obeng, one-time Rawlings' advisor on Presidential Affairs, made panic waves in the Garden City of Kumasi, when Luv FM radio reported that Obeng was in Accra attending a meeting of President Kufuor's cabinet.

At work places, drinking bars and homes, people either discussed, dismissed or expressed disapproval of what was seen to be a move by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to get on board ex-Rawlings' pal.

Our Kumasi bureau gathered that the news item started from a Kumasi High Court presided over by Justice J. K. Abraham.

Mr. Obeng, who is currently the board chairman, and Herbert Mensah, Chief Executive Officer of Asante Kotoko FC, Africa soccer cup campaigners, had been invited to appear in the case between the club and its dismissed coach, Ian Porterfield.

When PV and Herbert were called, they were found to be absent, so Porterfield's lawyer, Kofi Afrifa, called for a bench warrant to drag them to the court's next sitting.

But counsel for Mr. Obeng and Kotoko, Larry Otoo, pleaded for pardon, saying the chairman had been invited to a cabinet meeting in Accra. That reportedly stunned people at the court, and reporters got the item on the airwaves in no time.

Chronicle investigation at the Cabinet office in Accra, however, showed that no cabinet meeting had taken place in Accra, yesterday, Thursday, to which PV had been invited or which he even attended uninvited. When the Cabinet office was further asked whether he had been called before a sub-committee meeting of the executive wing of government, the answer was no.

Mr. Obeng ranked with Justice Daniel Francis Annan as the two most important persons in Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings' Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

He was designated chairman of the Committee of PNDC Secretaries throughout the 11 years of that junta. When the PNDC metamorphosed into the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and formed the first government of the Fourth Republic in 1993, he was re-christened Presidential Advisor.

He was so powerful that he was seen to be more important than even the late Kow Nkensen Arkaah, the then vice president. The strongman, however, fell when the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) investigated expensive properties he and a few other government appointees were alleged to have acquired under suspicious circumstances.

Though the CHRAJ did not indict PV in its report, Mr. Rawlings quietly dumped him and PV quickly went into a long political hibernation.

When the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed the reigns of government in 2001, Mr. Obeng's name started popping up as a possible material for appointments, something that dismayed a section of the NPP faithful, who thought he had enjoyed all his hey days and got the treatment he deserved from his youth days friend, Rawlings, and so should not be entertained by the NPP.

That explained the stir caused by his alleged attendance of cabinet meeting, Chronicle gathered.

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