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19.11.2004 General News

Kufuor does not own a $500,000 mansion

By Graphic

Palaver Allegation Against President Untrue — NMC Accra, Nov. 19, Graphic -- The National Media Commission (NMC) has stated that the allegation that the President, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor, had bought a $500,000 mansion at Asonomase in Kumasi, which had led to the asphalting of the roads in the area, is not true, based on evidence available to it.

The allegation, made with others in the Ghana Palaver part of a series of publications between August and October 2004, that were brought to the commission for determination by the Ministry of Information. The Ghana Palaver also alleged that the government had placed a listening device to record calls on certain numbers,that the Vice-President and the Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had interrupted the judicial process in respect of some officers that had embezzled ¢71 million and mentioned a website that identified six ministers as among the 10 richest in the country.

Other allegations were that the president had created minister's protocol supplement, under which every minister collected between ¢5 and ¢10 million every month and that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was planning to rig the December elections.

In a statement released in Accra, the NMC said Mr Frank Agyekum, who represented the ministry, categorically denied all the accusations by the Ghana Palaver.

The editor of the Ghana Palaver, Mr Jojo Bruce-Quansah, stated that the paper did not mention any member of government in connection with the alleged bugging of telephone numbers. Mr Agyekum challenged this assertion, pointing out that only the government or its agencies could bug phones.

With regard to the purchase of the $500,000 mansion at Asonomase, Mr Bruce-Quansah conceded that the source of that information had been found to be untrue. He defended the allegation that the government was planning to rig the December elections, pointing to the government's attempt to set up a procurement board for the Electoral Commission, the attempt to introduce the National Identification Cards and the opening of voters' register as some of the measures taken by the government to do this.

He, however, said he had evidence to prove the alleged payment of protocol supplement to ministers and the Vice-President's intervention in the purported embezzlement trial and promised to produce it at the next sitting of the Complaints and Settlements Committee (CSC) of the NMC.

The NMC noted with concern Mr Bruce-Quansah's failure to appear before the Commissions CSC, despite repeated invitations to him to do so. It said the editor had also failed to furnish the commission with his evidence to substantiate the claim that the government was paying supplements to ministers of state.

The commission said based on evidence available, it had found all the allegations in the Ghana Palaver to be untrue.

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