Spokesperson for Acting New Patriotic Party (NPP) chairman, Freddie Blay has served notice neither he nor his boss owes any obligation to proffer any information on the source of funding for the personal procurement of 275 buses for the party.
Richard Nyamah confirmed Wednesday morning that the buses have already been procured by Mr Blay, explaining that it was done through “a facility”. However that is all he would provide, as he was not obliged to give any information on the deal.
An attempt by Samuel Eshun, host of Accra-based Radio Gold’s morning show (Gold Power Drive) to probe further on-air, the source and nature of the acting chairman’s funding for the procurement of the 275 buses reportedly meant for constituency distribution for party business, met with a straight rebuff.
Sammy Eshun (SE): “Richard, good morning”
Richard Nyamah (RN): “Good morning Sir”
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SE: “How are you doing this morning?”
RN: “I’m good and you?”
SE: “I’m good, thanks for asking. So this issue about the 275 buses that Mr. Freddie has indicated that he was going to buy, confirm for me, has he purchased them?”
SE: “He has purchased them, from which company?”
RN: “Eh, I think I’m not obliged to give those details out, please. You want to know if the buses have been purchased, they have been purchased.”
SE: “How long ago were they purchased?”
RN: “My brother what matters is that the buses have been purchased, when? How? I don’t know but why should I tell you when it was. Does it matter, does it change anything?”
RN: “The crux of the issue, what does it change to know that it was purchased three, four months ago, what does it change...”
A brief banter then ensues during which Nyamah says he has previously indicated that the buses were secured through a facility and that he was not obliged to explain the nature of the facility or which bank is providing it, or any further information on-air to jeopardise a private business arrangement.
RN: “I’m saying that I’m not going to jeopardise a private business arrangement on radio. If you want to have details, go to CHRAJ, go to EOCO (Economic and Organised Crimes Office). Go and lodge a complaint, I will bring the needed details to that particular institution…”
Richard Nyamah’s responses left programme co-host, Peter Bamfo livid while he berated the ‘level of arrogance and pomposity” of the spokesperson after a brief stint in government.
Early on on the same programme, anti-corruption campaigners Daniel Batidam and Vitus Azeem had argued that there was every motivation for investigative bodies clothed with power to probe the bus purchase thoroughly.
According to Azeem, it was proper to establish if the money came from authentic sources, whether it is a gift, or came by money laundering in an era where even established businesses are unable to attract such level of funding and how any one bank could so invest depositors’ monies with an election candidate who could either win or lose the poll.
“…275 buses for the political party, is he paying taxes on that business because that business that he is doing, we need to investigate further as already made by the Ghana Integrity Initiative into this statement. We need a number of state institutions to look at his source of funding. The financial intelligence centre needs to look at it in terms of money laundering, the Ghana Revenue Authority needs to look at it in terms of taxes and whatever businesses or gifts that he used to raise this money, and the Electoral Commission needs to look at it whether they are gifts or donation to the party from outside the country which our laws bar.
“It is more than just feeling concerned about it. For a government that is in power for less than two years, for its acting chairmen to come out and make such a statement, it is worrying and needs some investigation.”
Asked if it was not legal for an individual to resource his political party, Azeem said it is legal but the source of the money needs to be questioned, saying that the cost of one bus, multiplied by 275, is money big enough to be worried about.
Daniel Batidam, Ghana's representative on the AU's advisory board said there is no doubt that when it comes to the issues of how our political dispensation is moving in terms of governance and going from issues of party financing and other matters, there remains a lot to be done, arguing also that the matter is far beyond the actions of an individual when it is about an acting chairman of a ruling political party offering to donate as many as 275 buses.
“I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered and for me the starting point, if we were to have the kind of strong governance institutions that we have been advocating for, the starting point would be some agency with the mandate to investigate corruption should activate that mandate even without prompting from anybody because it boils down to questions about what the source of income of the individual the person involved who is a known active politician, what the source of his income is, what the motive for supplying such a huge number of buses, in other words making such a big investment at a time when his party is going through internal democratic processes. I think there are many, many questions that all of us should be asking but more importantly, as I said, the institutions with the mandate should not wait to be told to begin to maybe summon Mr Freddie Blay and ask him a few questions.”
He said he was happy others in civil society, particularly the Ghana Integrity Initiative was asking questions about the deal and said it is the right cause of action as it is where political corruption begins.
Read also: Rejoinder by Freddie Blay's to threats by GII to drag Freddie Blay to EOCO
RE: Ghana Integrity Initiative to drag Freddie Blay to EOCO, CHRAJ
The attention of the Campaign Team of Mr. Freddie Blay has been drawn to an interview Madam Mary Adda, the Programmes Manager of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) granted to Peace FM on their Midday News of 14th May, 2018.
In the said interview, Ms. Adda mischievously and deliberately misrepresented and invented her own facts as to what Mr. Freddie Blay is supposed to have said in a couple of interviews to the effect that he has acquired 275 buses for each NPP Constituency in the country.
Mr Freddie Blay did NOT at any point in his interviews say that;
(1) He is giving the buses as gifts to the constituencies.
(2) He is by the buses seeking to influence them (delegates) to vote for him as Chairman of NPP.
(3) He is taking advantage of his incumbency as acting chairman of the party.
The Campaign Team will like to state the facts as follows;
Mr. Blay has indicated his belief in the NPP foundational principle of a property owning democracy. To actualize it, he emphasized that his MAIN objective as the next NPP National Chairman will be to empower the party and its members to own businesses and property for the party to be self-sufficient whether in government or not.
To this effect, Mr. Blay unveiled a business model to empower the various constituencies.
In this plan, Mr. Blay has through a facility acquired 275 buses for the 275 constituencies of the NPP in the country.
The various Constituency Chairmen and Secretaries are to co-sign for each constituency. The said buses are to be run commercially by any bus operator in the country, a process we are currently negotiating on.
The various constituencies will open bank accounts and pay monthly installments.
A portion of the proceeds are to be lodged into the constituency account for use by the constituencies for party activities. At the end of full payments, the buses become the property of the constituency, who are encouraged to buy new buses or invest the proceeds into other businesses to help finance the party at the constituency level.
Mr Blay will also want to assure the GII that as an astute lawyer and one who has been an active participant in Ghana’s democratic venture, he is aware of the law on gifts and has no intention of flouting same.
We want to take this opportunity to spell out other policies Mr. Blay has indicated he will spearhead if he becomes National Chairman after the July, 2018 delegates conference.
a. That he will arrange for a facility to the tune of GH¢ 100,000 Ghana Cedis each for all constituency women organizers to buy made in Ghana prints in their constituencies to help revive the print industry.
b. That he will encourage all party faithful and constituency executives to take active part in the One-District One-Factory policy, One-Village One-Dam among other entrepreneurial policies that the government is introducing.
He emphasizes that it is his vision for the NPP to be in power for 30 years and for this to be achieved, members of the NPP will have to own the projects and programs of the government since the NDC does not believe in them and will only shoot such programs down with propaganda. For Ghana to be transformed, the members of the NPP, according Mr. Blay, will have to prosper as evidence for all Ghanaians to believe and participate in our forward march.
We wish to indicate that Mr. Blay is the Acting Chairman of the NPP and until there is a new Chairman, he has the responsibility towards the party and its members.
We wish to urge Ms. Mary Adda and the Ghana Integrity Initiative to file a petition at the EOCO or CHRAJ or both if they feel strongly that Mr. Blay has engaged in any wrong doing. However, we will want to caution them not to allow themselves to be used by our opponents to do their bidding.
We will urge them to stay out of political propaganda and focus on their civil society role.
Long Live Ghana
Long Live NPP
Spokesperson for Mr. Freddie Blay (Ag National Chairman NPP)