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24.07.2005 General News

NDC In Fanciful Suspicion Over ‘Hotel Kufuor’

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Says Deputy Majority Leader

The Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, Mr. Abraham, Ossei-Aidoo has described as a bout of fanciful suspicion, the strenuous efforts being made by the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) to impute presidential impropriety in the President's son, 'Chief' Kufuor's purchase of what has now become known as the “Kufuor Hotel” etc.

According to him, the NDC had no credible evidence “that is worth investigating or even debating on the floor of the House”.

The Deputy Majority Leader was reacting in an interview with this paper to the NDC's decision to move a motion on the floor of Parliament for an independent multi-partisan enquiry into the purchase of the uncompleted hotel building near the private residence of President Kufuor.

He wondered why the NDC would not allow a State institution like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) that had been mandated to deal with issues of corruption by public officials, to investigate the sale and purchase of the hotel building.

“As at now CHRAJ is handling this matter and so that may be an obstruction, and I would not be a party to an exercise that will subvert a constitutional body like the CHRAJ in the performance of its investigations”, said the Deputy Majority Leader, having agreed that even some members of the Majority in Parliament had not opposed an independent inquiry into the issue.

He demanded to know whether there were any new disclosures that indicated any impropriety on the part of the President or any public officer in the matter, adding that any Ghanaian of working age no matter his/her relationship to the President had the right to work for a living.

“What we have so far is that the son of the President has put together a consortium of banks and others to purchase a property, nobody is saying that the son of the President must not work and that because he is the son of the President he will be paid at the end of t he month without working”, he contended.

Mr. Ossei-Aidoo dismissed the claims of the NDC that CHRAJ was not properly constituted to investigate that matter as lame, saying the acting Commissioner had indicated publicly that CHRAJ was adequately constituted to investigate effectively the sale and purchase of the property in question.

He said the NDC's contention that CHRAJ could not be relied upon to investigate the matter was unfortunate and disappointing.

According to him, at various times, the NDC had expressed no confidence in the judiciary and even attacked Parliament as an institution without realizing the implication of their conduct.

“Some of us are beginning to wonder whether they are deliberately subverting the institutions of democracy”, Aidoo lamented. “And that is very unfortunate, I hope that is not their intention”, he prayed.

The Deputy Majority Leader, did not dismiss the probability of the President's son exploiting his father's influence, but added that, that had not been proven.

He cited examples of former Premier Minister of Britain, Magaret Thatcher's son as well as George Bush doing business when his father was President of America without incurring the wrath of the British and American people for abuse of influence or corruption.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyeman, the Minister for Works and Housing and Member of Parliament (MP) for Juabeng did not see anything wrong with the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Sekyi Hughes not granting leave for the NDC to read their statement on the sale and purchase of the hotel building on the floor of Parliament, saying it was at the discretion of the Speaker in accordance with the stipulations of the Order Book to allow or reject a statement to be made on the floor of the House.

“In my opinion, Speaker Sekyi Hughes has not done any extraordinary thing”, said Mr. Owusu Agyeman.

According to him, when he managed to move a motion on the floor of the House, against the allegation that ex-President Rawlings had received a gift of $5m from his counterpart, then President Abacha of Nigeria, the then Speaker of the House, Mr. Justice Annan used his fiat to discontinue the motion probably because two MPs had engaged in fisticuffs virtually disrupting the debate that day.

“In my case, it was against the President, not his son or daughter, but we were not allowed to debate it even though we thought we had enough credible evidence”, he noted.

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