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06.12.2005 General News

SFO wants “kickback” issue investigated

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The Serious Fraud Office has waded into the alleged contracts kickback scandal which the Enquirer newspaper has implicated the NPP chairman Harona Esseku and President Kufuor.

Serious Fraud Office boss Theophilus Cudjoe today supported calls for an investigation into the matter.

He was speaking at a press conference organized by the Ghana Anti Corruption Coalition, a grouping of anti corruption agencies.

“For the Serious Fraud Office I can tell you that there are issues we should look at. We should look at how much money is involved and where are the monies being kept? Are the monies being kept? Are those monies infringing on the financial laws of this country? How much monies are supposed to be sitting in people's houses or offices, should these monies be there? Are they not supposed to be in the bank?

These are all issues to be controlled by law. These political parties law has a lot of rules and regulations about how political parties should keep their monies, the various accounts, which has to be filled at the end of the year with the Electoral Commission (EC). I think my office will be interested in looking at issues such to what extent have all these laws being obeyed”, he said.

Mr. Cudjoe says the Serious Fraud Office is monitoring fallouts from the controversy to establish the fine issues that can inform the SFO should the Office investigate the matter.

Mr. Cudjoe outlined what he says should be the parameters of any investigation.

“If there is a public officer or a contractor who is giving money to a political party, is he doing it properly. If a company is donating money they should put in their book of accounts so that at the end of the year it shows that they gave out so much to charity, political parties etc. If they don't do that then that party is committing an offence for under declaring their income.

If it is a private individual who is giving a billion cedis to a political party, we may find out whether he has the means, whether the money came from his own legal work. If he did so, did he report it to the income tax as a gift to donation?

My interpretation of the aspect of the political parties law, which I have seen is that, it looks as if the reporting requirements do not have much push. I saw that the report should be put in a gazette and so far I don't think I have seen anything in the gazette about the accounting of political parties and the means by which they are getting their monies.

These are probably acts of Parliament of Ghana or law makers to ensure that where these declarations are made, they appear at the proper places where they are supposed to be made,” he said.

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