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AKUFO-ADDO CAN’T PROBE ALL ALLEGATIONS: MAHAMA ADVISOR TELLS NDC

Politics

Daniel Batidan, an advisor on corruption to former President John Dramani Mahama, has admitted that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must not be seen instituting inquiries into just every allegation of corruption raised in the public domain, unless he has compelling reasons to do so.

Daniel Batidan, an advisor on corruption to former President John Dramani Mahama, has admitted that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must not be seen instituting inquiries into just every allegation of corruption raised in the public domain, unless he has compelling reasons to do so.

 

His remark follows the several calls, especially from the opposition New Democratic Congress (NDC), to launch an investigation into the purported acquisition of a Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence for Ghana’s mission in Norway.

On Sunrise, 3FM’s morning show programme, yesterday, Winson Amoah asked Mr Batidam if the President should heed to the calls to investigate all allegations of malfeasance raised by his opponents.

He responded: “Not at all, not at all and; you know that I will not say that any allegation that is made, a president should set up an inquiry. You have to look at the weight of the allegation; you have to look at the circumstances of the allegation; you have to look at the information available about the issue and, of course, you have to look at who is raising the issue and where.”

Speaking in the radio interview, the former Presidential advisor said, per the presentation made by the Foreign Affairs Minister in Parliament with regards to the supposed deal, the issue was not a controversial one.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs went to our Parliament and made the presentation on an issue which appeared not to be controversial from her presentation. Mind you, the controversy only came after the Minister’s presentation in Parliament and, subsequently, the ranking member for Foreign Affairs then came up to raise issues,” he said.

President’s response

At Wednesday’s media encounter at the Jubilee House, President Nana Akufo-Addo said he believed there was no prima facie case for an investigation. He added that the call for probe into the matter was only an attempt by the NDC to distract the government, and not merely to help clear issues surrounding the intended acquisition.

“I think that for us, for a government and a President to say that he is going to acquiesce for an enquiry, you need to have some basis that raises some kind of prima facie case and, in that case, the President is duty bound to say let this matter be investigated,” he said

Responding to whether he would take the calls for a probe serious, President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “Here is an allegation being made on the floor of Parliament by the Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs about a transaction that has not even taken place and yet a serious accusation of misappropriation and mishandling is made on a transaction that has not taken place.”

The President, in parrying off those calls, said: “My government will not spend all our time making inquiries, because it clearly is a pattern of the opposition to throw these accusations in the air. When they are debunked, we don’t hear anything about it. They just move to the next allegation,”

“There is not so much a word as ‘we are sorry about that.’ No, they just move on to fabricate the next one and go on and on...it’s going to get worse. In 2019, a year to the election, when these people are so desperate, it is going to get worse. The fabrications will continue and continue,” the President said.

Call for probe

Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, had held a press conference to call on the President to institute a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter. He had argued that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its response, did not speak to basic issues he raised on the floor of Parliament.

The ranking member, however, failed to avail himself of the relevant legislative structures in addressing the controversy he had raised in Parliament.

According to him, the Ministry was seeking to purchase a six-bedroom property whose value had been inflated by over $8million, equivalent to GHC41.7million, based on a document he had not officially tendered in the House.

Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa asserted that the NDC, through its internal investigations, had discovered that the six-bedroom apartment was sold at $3,598,108 in 2017. He further claimed that the same property was being bought at an outrageous price of $12,218,487, leading to an inflation of $8.5million.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway had empahsised that no payment had been done and that she had directed that “all due diligence activities relating to the acquisition of the properties be discontinued.”