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02.12.2005 General News

Minority Wants Probe Into Kickback Allegation

By Ghanaian Times
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THE Minority in Parliament yesterday announced its intent to get the Speaker of Parliament to institute an official enquiry into allegations attributed to Mr Harona Esseku, chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that 'kick-backs' are paid to the Presidency.

The enquiry, it said, should also cover claims that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) took 10 per cent kick-backs during its tenure of office.

Minority leader Alban Bagbin, said these at a news conference in Parliament yesterday to state his side's position on the alleged disclosure by Mr Esseku, of the collection of kick backs from contractors at the Castle.

It was also to comment on the arrest of Eric Amoateng, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkoranza North, for suspected drug trafficking in the United States.

Mr Bagbin said that public interest in the alleged kickbacks scandal was very high "since this time it involved President Kufuor directly and not his son."

He said that it was also a test case of President Kufuor's commitment to zero tolerance for corruption and principle of probity and accountability as enshrined in the Constitution.

"It is an opportunity for President Kufuor to come clean and convince the world that he has nothing to hide by presenting himself to a formal enquiry set up under the auspices of Parliament," Mr Bagbin said.

Responding to the charge that the Minority posture was hypocritical as the NDC party might have been funded through kickbacks, Mr Bagbin said, "if it is practiced, it should be discontinued."

"We should not look the other way when criminal conducts are happening in the country," he stated.

On the drug case, Mr Bagbin said that even though the Minority would not like to prejudge the outcome of the court hearings, circumstances leading to his arrest as well as comments by the NPP National Chairman to the effect that the MP had long been suspected of being involved in some illicit drugs " was scandalous and abominable."

Mr Bagbin said that by Amoateng's conduct, the image, dignity and respectability of the Parliament of Ghana had been brought into disrepute.