Vitus Azeem Is Only After The Truth On The $2 Or $5mdollars Cash From Abacha To Rawlings
Mr. Vitus Azeem, a Ghanaian Anti Corruption activist is a man I have known for the past two decades, since his working days at Integrate Social Development Center (ISODEC) till he landed a job at the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) the local branch of transparency international. He had been known for fighting against corruption in favor of accountability, transparency and probity in governance.
For that matter he had been a darling figure to the media, who would often want to hear his views on issues regarding corruption. No wonder that when the issue of the 5million dollars hand out to Rawlings by late General Sani Abacha in the late 90s erupted in the media, the ubiquitous media house Citi Fm jumped on Vitus for his views.
As usual he was forthright. He told the media house that the matter must be investigated. He told Citi that it must be established whether the amount was given personally by late Abacha or from the government of Nigeria to the government of Ghana through former President Rawlings. Even though some people might not understand vitus and think he hates Rawlings that is not it, I think his reaction to the media is on point because we all need to help unravel the truth about the matter to be able to nail or exonerate our former head of state who until now is a role model.
The issue is out there on the international scene with Ghana in a limbo in terms of credibility. Vitus is right because there are conflicting accounts about the quantum level of the cash. While President Rawlings in admitting to collecting the cash says the amount was $2m dollars the emissary of Abacha says he handed over a whooping 5m dollars to Rawlings for specific duties which had since been carried out. All these are matters that need to be gone into to arrive at the truth.
Which were the duties? Were they beneficial to the nation or Rawlings himself and late Abacha? What is even frighteningly damning about the entire issue is that a huge media person like Mr. Kwaku Baako who says he has knowledge about the issue says he believe that the mount given to Rawlings was $5million dollars. Willian Nyarko now a lawyer in the US who followed the issue in 1998 for Ghanaian Chronicle also says that per a memo that he had on the issue President Rawlings was given $5million dollars. What is important about this matter is that Rawlings has a reputation as former leader of Ghana who fought against corruption through whom some Ghanaians high and low suffered and had to pay dearly in his time.
According to Dr Arthur Kennedy, Abacha was the Nigerian dictator who stole billions of USD and extinguished every democratic right of Nigerians during his ill-fated, 5 year rule. Noble laureate Wole Soyinka condemned him with passion. US Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said of Abacha in 2014, “Rather than serve his country, Gen. Abacha used his public office in Nigeria to loot billions of dollars, engaging in kleptocracy". Nigeria recovered over a billion dollars from his loot.
Therefore for Rawlings to have collected money $2 or $5m dollars from Abacha now Known to have stolen billions of dollars from the coffers of Nigeria , the entire nation needs to know why the amount was given and what It was used for. The truth is needed to guide the current and future leaders to know which money to receive from foreign leaders and which ones to reject. If the truth is established the nation would know whether Rawlings was shortchanged by Guarzo or some other person or Rawlings was telling lies. Though he Rawlings may not be prosecuted the findings would serve as a means of giving guidance to future leaders on the issue. Therefore you are right Vitus ride on for I know whoever past as president Kufuor is involved you would have asked the same questions to get the air cleared
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.