Govt did not fund Anas:To expose corruption in Judiciary — Prez

BY: Samuel Duodu & Zadok Kwame Gyesi
President Mahama conferring with some of his men at the rally. They are (from left); Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini, Deputy Northern Regional Minister

President John Dramani Mahama has denied claims by a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu, that the government sponsored the investigations by ace journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas that exposed corruption in the Judiciary.

 

He said although the government had sponsored some work of the ace investigative journalist, it did not know anything about Anas's recent exposé on the scandal in the Judiciary.

"The government did not sponsor Anas," he stated, adding, "It is true that the government has sponsored him before, but the Judiciary work has nothing to do with the government."

The President said the government collaborated with Anas and his Tiger Eye PI to carry out investigations into corrupt practices by some officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).

President Mahama was addressing some supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Tamale in the Northern Region as part of his "Changing Lives" campaign.

The President's comments were in reaction to an allegation by Mr Amidu that the recent Judiciary scandal uncovered by Anas was sponsored by the government.

Massive reception

The President, who touched down at the Tamale Airport at 1 p.m., received a massive reception from the people, for which reason it took him hours instead of minutes to move from the airport to the rally ground.

He described the reception accorded him as unprecedented since he began his “Changing Lives” tour in the country.

Driving from the Tamale Airport to town usually takes less than 30 minutes.

The rally was used to launch the "Operation win all parliamentary seats in the region” project.

The Northern Region has 31 constituencies, out of which the NDC occupies 19.

The New  Patriotic Party (NPP) has 10, while an independent candidate and the Convention People's Party (CPP) have a seat each.

Among the dignitaries who thronged the Jubilee Park  to welcome the President were metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and regional executives of the NDC.

Touching on the budget, President Mahama said the 2016 budget presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, last Friday was aimed at stabilising the economy and consolidating the gains made so far.

“Dead goat budget” tag

He said he was not surprised by the “Dead goat budget” tag given to the budget by the Minority in Parliament.

The President said Ghanaians had expressed a lot of dissatisfaction over the extreme partisanship displayed by the Minority  over issues of national concern.

He stated that the Minority had already made up its mind and, therefore, he was not surprised at its position on the 2016 budget.

"I don't think they even listened to the budget because they had printed the ‘Dead goat budget’ under their tables," he said.

President Mahama said there was no need for any debate on the budget "because there is no way they (NPP) will ever find anything good in that budget".

Borrowing

He justified the government's excessive borrowing, saying it had used the money to embark on massive infrastructure development.

"If you borrow and you invest, then it is not a bad thing because that investment will pay off. I don't need to get into argument over infrastructure with the NPP. Yes, we have spent money on infrastructure; it is necessary we spent money on infrastructure," he said.

Second term

The President, who was cheered on by the enthusiastic supporters, said he needed another term to enable him to complete his projects.

He said the Constitution allowed any President eight years and that the framers of the Constitution recognised that "you cannot do all your projects within the first four years".

President Mahama said he had used the first term to lay the foundation and needed another term to build on the foundation laid.

He said although the 2016 elections were going to be very critical, the performance of the NDC would enable it to win "one touch".