Accra, Oct. 13, Chronicle -- In the wake of The Chronicle's series on the Bambagate, two short phone calls came from the Office of the President. It was on the day Mr. Kwabena Agyepong went to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) to give evidence in the case of the unfortunate murder of his father during the PNDC era.
The first phone call came from a gentleman who refused to identify himself but said Mr. Agyepong had asked him to call this reporter and demand that we discontinue with the third part of the series because they were planning something.
The caller said Mr. Agyepong said he would call back after he returned from the NRC.
Later in the afternoon, Mr. Agyepong called, pleading that the Chronicle dropped the rest of the stories. The Chronicle asked him to come over to our office but he could not turn up.
It was the view of the editorial department that Mr. Agyepong's request was not just unreasonable but unethical since it amounted to asking us to cover up Bamba's misconduct. The Chronicle ignored the request and went ahead with the stories.
Yesterday, Mr. Kwabena Agyepong, the President's Press Secretary turned up on Radio Gold, an Accra-based radio station and stated that the disgraced ex-Deputy Minister who resigned in the wake of the anthology of scandals which rocked him at the presidency was not corrupt, neither had any allegation of corruption been leveled against him.
According to him, “there is no allegation of corruption on Bamba, he allowed himself, it was a case of indiscretion but that does not constitute criminal behavior. People are trying to use Bamba, but the fact is Bamba has not embezzled state funds. He has not, as at now, conducted himself as to suggest that he has cost the state any money.”
Speaking on Radio Gold's “Sixty Minutes” in Accra, Mr. Agyepong observed that what Bamba did was an act of indiscretion, adding, “when you are given public office, of course you are supposed to act in a moral and responsible manner so if you engage in things untoward and you allow friends of yours to pick letterheads and go engage in acts that can embarrass the government, then he had to pay the penalty for what he did. The penalty was to resign, he left office, and lost his ministerial position.”
Responding to a question from the host as to whether Moctar resigned voluntarily or was fired by the President, Mr. Kwabena Agyepong said that did not matter and “The fact is that he left office.”
When the host, Mr. Isaac Tetteh pressed him that the answer to that question was relevant to show the commitment of the president to his zero tolerance for corruption move, Mr. Agyepong said, “maybe Bamba was very smart, he got the inkling that the president was about to dismiss him, so he resigned.”
It is, however, recalled that when Bamba resigned in the wake of the scandals, the Ministry of Information, quoting the President said, the president had accepted his resignation with regret.
“And after that, the President did nothing to him. Is that the punishment for corruption?” the host asked. “You don't know what the President said to him, the President recently gave him a public reprimand,” Agyepong responded.
He reiterated that Moctar Bamba did not commit a crime, adding that the President had said whatever action he suffered was without prejudice to any further judicial enquiry or court process if he was found to have conducted himself in a way that would attract the given punishment.