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02.06.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: Are We Now Into Blackmail?


Last Tuesday, May 31st 2005, Dr. Kwame Amoako Tuffuor, a member of the National Council, which is the highest-decision making organ of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), held a press conference at the International Press Centre, in Accra.

Dr. Tuffuor was, not long ago, Chairman of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA's) Board that was dissolved. The position he occupies within the ruling party's hierarchy, suggests that he makes critical input into what informs government policies, and therefore the things he says cannot be taken lightly.

He sought, at the press conference, to draw Ghanaians' attention to some events of the past, especially, during the reign of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The NPP top gun, reminded Ghanaians that “one is not innocent until PROVEN GUILTY 'AND NOT' accused must prove his innocence,” and cautioned against subjecting citizens, “to daily treatment of speculations, misconceptions, character assassination, depressing and irreparable damage to peoples' long developed honour, dignity and reputation.”

Dr. Tuffuor, suggested that, the 'orchestrated noise' against the President's son's acquisition of a hotel building has the potential of undermining the business environment and the “confidentiality of the banks, that destroyed the economy of Ghana during Rawlings' June 4 AFRC Government of 1979.”

Dr. Tuffuor, then catalogued a list of allegations against the 'NDC and its past.' The eleventh of the thirteen-item allegations, however, cannot fail to raise eyebrows.

At that point, Dr. Amoako Tuffuor poses the question; “Do some members of the NDC want us to expose the $3m (three million dollars) deal with 'bribes' on WILLOWBROOK case, the funds of which were transferred from Ghana in 1983 from depleted national resources?”

The above allegation, if true, cannot leave anybody in doubt, that we are confronted with what looks like a clear case of blackmailing of the NDC by the ruling NPP, through the use of state assets.

Why would a government that has been given a mandate to protect the interest of the state, abdicate its responsibility of recovering state assets that a few individuals have unjustifiably acquired, and instead, flag the wrong doing, so people would keep their mouths shut?

Is it a case of 'we shall allow you to go in peace with your loot, so long as you don't make noise over ours?' Has the doctor unwittingly told us what may be going on behind the scenes? Ghanaians need to know!

It must be clear to all by now, that the call for an enquiry into the hotel acquisition by the President's son, has not come from just the NDC, and cannot therefore be relegated to a ding-dong battle between the NPP and the NDC.

In fact, Prof. E. Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Reverend Dr. Fred Deegbe of the Christian Council, Mr. Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International (TI), among others have all called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the hotel building acquisition, and full disclosure.

No one can put all the above persons into any narrow political grouping, be it NPP or NDC.

The government, would be shirking its responsibility to the people of Ghana, if they would not recover assets of this country, that they know have been wrongfully acquired by a few people, just because they want them to keep quiet over what they themselves may also be 'harvesting.'

This country is bigger than the NPP and NDC, and for that matter we must not allow them to share between them our resources with reckless abandon!