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09.06.2005 Press Review

Editorial: On CHRAJ’S Probe Into ‘Hotel Kufuor’

GYE NAYME CONCORD

THE ELDEST SON of President John Agyekum Kufuor, popularly known as 'Chief', has admitted interest in the hotel complex nearing completion near his father's Airport West residence. According to his account, he is not a mere shareholder; he put together the consortium of banks funding the project.

Meanwhile, Ms. Giselle Yajzi, one time Advisor to Hon. Yaw Osaafo Marfo -then Finance Minister- on two transactions, insists that the real owner of the hotel is Mr. President himself. This is because she claims inside knowledge as the person who allegedly negotiated with the previous owners of the hotel complex on behalf of the President, though it is now established that she was nowhere-near by the time the final purchase was made in September 2004.

Faced with such outright contradiction and a budding offensive odour of controversy ignited by critics hold on the issue, it is only proper that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the constitutional body charged with the responsibility for delving into such matters, investigate the issue.

Surprisingly, critics of government and some sympathisers alike have expressed doubt on CHRAJ's investigative process.

Strangely, some of those who should be happy that an effort is being made to probe the affair are rather up in arms, calling CHRAJ names.

Last week, the Minority in Parliament and the NDC's firebrand Dr Tony Aidoo joined the chorus against the CHRAJ probe, with the excuse that the CHRAJ is not constitutionally constituted to probe the affair.

They also indicated their lack of faith in CHRAJ's ability to probe the affair.

May we ask: What are they really afraid of? That such an investigative process could lay the facts bare and absolve the President of blame? Or is it the fear that the probe could destroy the massive propaganda tool the “Hotel Kufuor” saga has shaped out to be? Or is it really the case that they have no faith in CHRAJ?

From a similar point of view in term of CHRAJ's right to probe the affair but based on a different reason, the First Deputy Speaker, a lawyer, insists that no “substantive case has been established against the President to warrant the investigation”.

While we agree with him that no substantive case against the President has been established, we disagree with him on the need for CHRAJ's probe.

Our reason is simple: Who is better primed to establish a substantive case, if not CHRAJ? And that is precisely what the CHRAJ statement announcing “its preliminary” checks said; a full blown investigation would be ordered only if the current nosing around unearthed something substantive.

Of course, as Presidential Press Secretary Kwabena Agyapong pointed out, Chief Kufuor is an adult and can speak for himself. Indeed he has spoken for himself, but regrettably it has not jelled for so many reasons, including the self-inflicted pain by the so-called Spokesman, Charles Sam.

We do not want to be blind to that. That is why we think everybody – critics of the Kufuor Administration and supporters alike - should be happy that CHRAJ still has its integrity in one piece.

Unlike the Minority, we trust CHRAJ to do a good job. For those who are questioning CHRAJ's rights and motives for wishing to jump into the affair, we say the courts are there to test their position.

And for those who think it's a waste of time for CHRAJ to probe the affair because no case has been established, we say, if clearing the good name of President Kufuor amounts to a “complete waste of time and resources”, then the GYE NYAME CONCORD is happy to support such a waste . After all, it will not be the first time that the resources of the good people of Ghana would be wasted. And examples abound.

Regrettably, 99.9 percent of the wastage, past and ongoing, was not for such a good purpose as this.

Amoako-Tuffuor hits back at critics DR. KWAME AMOAKO Tuffuor, a member of the National Council of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), says critics of the 'Hotel Kufuor' saga must either proffer credible evidence to back their allegations of impropriety in the purchase of the hotel or shut up on their empty noises.

He also reminded the NDC to bear in mind that though the NPP Government is the most tolerant in the nation's political history, its tolerance should not be seen as a weakness, neither should it be taken for granted and that the NPP government believes in true democracy and freedom of speech if it is a responsible one.

Reacting to recent attacks on President Kufuor on the Hotel Kufuor saga and the NPP government in Accra, Dr. Tuffuor was of the view that unless otherwise proven by the law, the son of the President in Ghana can do business in Ghana so long as the money is legitimately acquired and properly invested.

He said if anyone has proof of crime or wrong doing, that person must use the court of law or CHRAJ, otherwise all the allegations are just “NOISE” or another AFRC-style of invading the confidentiality of the banks, which destroyed the economy of Ghana during the Rawlings-led June 4 AFRC government of 1979.

He said suspecting someone of wrong doing does not necessarily mean the person is guilty of the wrong and that guilt has to be proven.

He asked critics to allow the government the peace and quiet to concentrate on her work for the benefit of all while investigations are ongoing.

He noted that that, no country can develop when its citizens are subjected to daily treatment of speculations, misconceptions, character assassination, depression and irreparable damage to peoples long developed honour, dignity and reputation.

He said the people must support the government they voted into power for the government to solve their problems of hunger and poverty and that the insensitivity of some politicians only drives them to fight over issues that belong elsewhere and may not be what he termed “people-centred and focused”.

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