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28.11.2005 General News

NPP’s Looting Brigade

By The Enquirer
NPP’s Looting Brigade
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More revelations on the “Castle Kickbacks Scandal” The Enquirer reports today that the looting of the country's money started in the first term of the Kufuor administration.The private newspaper has in its possession a tape on which the chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has made these damning revelations of high level of corruption involving his party and indeed the president.The Enquirer reports that the NPP Chairman, Harona Esseku said the "chop-chop" (looting) in government began very early in Kufuor's first term and that ministers were "left loose like children in a candy shop to dribble Zero Tolerance for corruption and pocket bribes and kickbacks.”Mr. Esseku is reported to have said that ministers of the government chose to award contracts to NDC contractors and avoided those of the ruling party, because of the fear of being exposed for taking kickbacks on the contracts.This statement comes in the wake of similar revelations from Mr. Esseku that, castle, the seat of power has hijacked kickbacks that are meant for the administration of the party.“From the beginning I realized that there is some fear we had put in the ministers. The first thing the president said was zero tolerance for corruption. They believed that it was going to be enforced. So, the ministers felt that if they worked with party people they could not take bribes from them because as a party man he would expose the minister.”“So they all resorted to using NDC contractors and there was nobody to correct them at that time. After the first nine months, they had sold their rights to the NDC people so now even if you were told to give NPP people jobs, they only give them jobs worth 50 million. The maximum they will give an NPP contractor is 200-300 million,” worth of jobs”, the party chairman said.“Then the one billion, three billion and nine billion group, the answer is that they are people with the requisite experience. There was one printer called Checkpoint, he used to be a printing clerk at another printing press, as soon as they (NDC) came, they adopted him, today, as I am talking, he is still the biggest printer in Ghana. He is the one said to possess machinery for printing valued books such as cheques.”The report quotes the chairman as saying further that; “When NDC picked him, within three years they had bought those machines for him, they brought some white specialists to train him for two years. Since we came to power, it's been four years, we have printers who know the job, a little and we could have improved upon them.Because, behind the scenes, we knew them as belonging to us they didn't give them any contracts, (for fear of them being exposed) and so this is the problem and this is what we have to solve now.”“Our people must get the jobs,” Esseku added.The national chairman further stated that he has not grabbed any contract yet because “I wanted to stay clean for the four years” adding that his children can cater for him for the rest of his life.”Mr. Esseku is on record to have said that Castle, the seat of government is involved in receiving kickbacks in respect of the award of government contracts.The party chairman, who is also a cabinet member, said that even though he does not know who is handling the kickbacks, anytime he sends his budget to the Castle to access the funds, it is the president who receives the budget and authorizes payment.The party chairman has also said that the party has two accounts which are both in the reds and that attempts by him to repatriate the money from the Castle to the party has proved futile.“I called one of the ministers and asked him, why he has not been paying the money and he said oh! So you don't know about this? We have been shown where to send the money,” the party chairman said.He continued “I asked several contractors why they have not been paying (the kickbacks) and they laughed at me and said, how can we be doing this business and would not be paying.”Harona Esseku “I don't know who keeps the money, the only thing I know is that when l go to the Castle, I present the budget to the president, I wait in the president's office, he reads through the budget and he signals his men.”He said he spends time chatting with the president and “before I go, the money is dumped at the back of my car in bags.”On whether the president is not bankrolling the party he said “the money I collect at the Castle, can't come from his pocket or his allowance, how much is his allowance, I know his salary.”Source: The Enquirer

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