".."He should go to court and prove he's innocent" Following persistent attacks on opponents branding them as thieves and corrupt politicians, ex-President J.J. Rawlings has been dared to go to court and prove himself innocent and a saint if he did not take a $5m million bribe from the late General Sani Abacha, former President of Nigeria.
According to Kweku Baako Jnr., Editor-in-chief of the Crusading Guide, Rawlings in 1998 took a $5million bribe from the late Nigerian President in order to throw his weight behind him (the late President) when he had come under international sanction for human rights violation.
"I say he had illegally taken $5million belonging to Nigerians through Abacha", spurted Baako, daring Rawlings to proceed to the courts and prove himself innocent of this 'fact' if he thinks it is not true.
Baako was speaking to the crusading guide following the challenge he threw to the ex-President on PeaceFM during last Wednesday's Kokrokoo Newspaper review programme.
He said the $5m was brought in physical cash abroad a presidential jet by Gwarzo, the security capo of Abacha. According to Baako, state protocol vehicles went to the Air Force Station and took delivery of the money which was packed in brief cases to Rawlings at the Castle. He said the vehicles were accompanied by two Ghanaians "who are still alive - one politician serving the country in international circles and the other is a career diplomat serving the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government".
"Rawlings knows what I am saying, if he is a man and believes he is clean of this assertion, he should proceed to the courts and nail me", Baako dared the ex-President who once waged on an eleven year old holy war against corruption and its accompanying vices. He said because of the $5million when every body including heads of state were condemning Abacha for his dictatorial tendencies and human rights abuses. Rawlings abstained from joining the chorus, declaring Abacha, upon his death loudly and in very laudable terms as a man of integrity.
He dismissed last Wednesday's Rawlings interview on BBC Hard talk as pack of lies and infantile nonsense.
"If Rawlings is not corrupt, he should tell us who paid and perhaps still paying his children's school fees in those elite schools abroad, Baako noted. He also demanded from the ex-President where he got the money from to acquire the 250,000 pounds residence that his kids used whilst in London. Baako asked, "why can't he identify the friends?" "this is a form of corruption", he added, suggesting that "many of these friends could be guys who bought divested companies in Ghana, so the commission might have been used in paying for the expensive flats in which his kids stayed as well as their school fees".
"For what reason did Eddie Annan, a businessman of MASAI fame give Rawlings a Buick Riviera, a very expensive car, which they even tried to hide under the name of Nana Koandu Agyemang Rawlings, but were exposed", Baako asked again. He said in November 1992 after being in power for eleven years, Rawlings and his wife declared they were worth only ¢352,000 which was published in the Ghana Gazette of that year.
"We all know Rawlings, what he was worth and what he is worth today", said the editor-in chief. Baako said the records have it that in August 1992, Rawlings acquired a land at East Legon, a very expensive residential area in Accra and commenced its land development in 1995. In 1996, Rawlings acquired a ¢9million building plot (freehold) at Kitase. He also within the same year acquired a chalet and a wooden hut at Tefle in the Volta region for ¢5.5million. In June 1999, "St" Rawlings acquired an agro-forestry land (Freehold) for ¢15million at Fievie in the Volta Region and also another one at Woe, in 2000, also in the Volta Region for ¢11.5 million. "Is this not the same Rawlings who had declared that he did not have a dollar in any bank in the world?" Baako asked again.
"Yet, he continued, "the man took delivery of four Toyota land cruisers and paid duties not less than ¢500million". Baako said Rawlings' challenge to the CIA etc on Hard Talk to investigate him was empty and that it is on record that as far back as the 1890 his wife operated a Swiss Bank account. This multi-million dollar account had a balance of US$632,400 about 6billion cedis as at 2002. The bank is called GONET and CIE. Readers will recall that Konadu, getting to the end of her husband's tenure of office as President of Ghana, bought exotic flower vases at a popular hotel in Accra for not less than $17,000. Rawlings, readers will recall that he recently paraded part of his acquisitions in Ovation Magazine. The acquisitions included expensive vintage jaguar cars, speed boats, etc.