Berekum, Thursday, February 10, 2005 -- The New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries, which were characterized by internal wrangling, rancor and vote-buying during the elections of its aspiring parliamentarians, is over, yet the party has been hit by another struggle for power. This time, the focus is on who becomes the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the various District in the country. First to catch the eyes of The Chronicle was the Berekum District, where the incumbent District Chief Executive, Mr. Kyere Yeboah is accused of exploiting his incumbency to advantage over the other contestants for the position of DCE.
Information reaching The Chronicle's Brong Ahafo Regional Desk from Berekum reveal that the Acting District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Kyere Yeboah was able to attract five out of the ten executive members of the Berekum Constituency of the NPP to his camp, to back his candidature for the position.
Mr. Kwabena Adjei, the NPP Constituency Chairman, who disclosed this to The Chronicle, said each of the five executive members had received ¢30 million as an enticement fee to back the candidature of Mr. Kwabena Kyere Yeboah.
Mr. Adjei named the five beneficiaries of the DCE bribery package as Prince Yeboah Marfo, the Constituency Chairman and also a tutor of the Berekum Teachers Training College (BETCO), Kennedy Kwasi Gyau, Constituency Secretary, Gloria Affum an executive member, Margaret Asubonteng, Constituency Women Organizer and Kofi Ohene Gyan, Constituency Assistant Secretary.
However, when the chairman was contacted at his residence at BETCO campus, he denied the allegations, saying “this is an attempt to tarnish my reputation, adding I have a reputation to protect and for that matter I would not take money from anyone to vote for him”.
He said, “I want a DCE that I can control and not a DCE who would control me, so if I take money from him how can I control him again?” he told this reporter.
Prince Marfo became worried when this paper reached him and could not do anything, but drive this reporter to Mr. Adjei's ammunition store at Berekum to find out if he actually made the allegations against him and the others.
Mr. Adjei boldly confirmed to the NPP chairman that he gave the information to The Chronicle, which contained nothing but only the truth. Prince Marfo denied the allegations and said, “We did not receive anything from the DCE.” He added that all that the Organizer had said was a fabrication against the five executives.
The chairman asked this reporter, “Did Kwabena Adjei disclose how much he and other three executives received from one of the contestants Kwabena Boateng Agyenim, who they opted for?” He added, “You have to ask him first to tell you what they had received.”
When the DCE was contacted, he initially declined to talk, until the chairman; Prince Marfo got him on the phone to inform him about The Chronicle investigation into the alleged bribery scandal.
Mr. Kyere Yeboah denied the allegations, saying it would be suicidal on his part to do that, because it is not the party executives who are the final people to push him through for the DCE position.
He said, “How much am I going to pay to the assembly members to endorse me even if I'm nominated by the President for the position.
I don't have that money at all.” The other two who are vying for the post and presented their names to the Regional Secretariat of the NPP include one Kwaku Boateng, who pulled 4 votes during an executive meeting at the Berekum District Assembly to select three candidates for submission to the Castle.
The third person is the 2nd Vice Chairman of the party, Mr. J.A. Kyere who opted for himself. Narrating how the DCE lured the five into his camp and subsequently bribing them with a total amount of ¢150 million, Mr. Adjei hinted that the chairman, Prince Marfo invited them to a meeting on five occasions in which he told them that they should charge the DCE, but they had never agreed to the suggestion.
He said, “Even the last meeting Capt. Nkrabea Effa-Dartey (Rtd), the Member of Parliament for Berekum was there.”
According to him, Nkrabea told the meeting that anyone who wanted to contest for the DCE position should be allowed to do so, because the Acting DCE did nothing to help the party.
Again, Mr. Adjei revealed that, on 26th of January, the Chairman authorized him to convene a meeting the following day, but he did not give him any agenda for the meeting.
According to Mr. Adjei, he complied with the order of the chairman and at the meeting, which started at 7 pm, the chairman told them (NPP executives) the Regional Secretariat of NPP was demanding a list of the names of persons interested in the position of the DCE by the close of the week, which fell on Friday 29, 2005.
The constituency organizer said, earlier before the meeting he had information that the five executives had collected ¢150 million from Mr. Kyere Yeboah to be shared among themselves with each one taking home ¢ 30 million.
Mr. Adjei also told the paper that before the meeting, he inquired from the women organizer if they still stood by the decision of voting against the DCE and she replied in the affirmative.
The Organizer told The Chronicle that, before the balloting, the DCE approached his father and sought him to convince him to vote for the DCE. He however denied the DCE came along with cash.
When voting took place the DCE emerged ahead with five votes, whilst Kwaku Boateng Agyenim had 4 votes, and J.A. Kyere recorded one.