The presidential candidate for Ghana’s opposition People’s National Congress (PNC) is calling for a probe into the finances of former ministers in President John Kufuor’s government who vied for the ruling party’s presidential nomination. John Mahama questions how about 16 former ministers came up with a non-refundable amount of 250 million cedies ($25 thousand dollars) as nomination fees for their party’s ticket, ahead of this year’s general elections.
Some Ghanaians have added their voice, calling on President Kufuor to institute an investigation into the source of his former ministers’ money. From Ghana’s capital, Accra John Mahama tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Kufuor has failed to live up to his promise to fight corruption.
“I’ve been in politics of Ghana for about 10 years now. In 1996 I contested with candidate Kufuor, and I didn’t see five or 10 people seeking their nomination that year. Even in 2004, then in 2008 because the ministers 16 or 17 of them stepped forward and you wonder. They’ve been complaining that ministers are not well paid. So where did they get the money that they were throwing in the face of Ghanaians all these times?” Mahama asked.
He said if elected president in this year’s elections, fighting graft would be his priority.
“I’m promising the people of Ghana that PNC administration led by me will make corruption our number one target. And I have said that corruption can be tackled at three levels, the moral level, the social level, and the legal level. I’m saying about the NPP (ruling New Patriotic Party) I don’t know that any of them has done anything wrong. But their behavior has made me say that they need to be investigated,” he noted.
Mahama urged the government to employ state institutions to fight graft, which Ghanaians have described as endemic in the country’s body politic.
“We can start with IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to find out how much taxes they have paid or those who donated to them. For example, one of them supposedly raised in one night seven billion cedies (seven million dollars), and he said that they were donations from somebody whom we know doesn’t have an empire like Bill Gates. So if that man can make that kind of donation to a political campaign, how much did he pay in taxes? We can start from there. But definitely, the serious Fraud Office or the BIN (Bureau of National Investigations), all these are agencies of government that at the suspicion of corruption are entitled to investigate on their own,” Mahama said.
He reiterated what he described as the need to investigate the former minister in President Kufuor’s administration.
“I’m not talking about their numbers. I’m just talking about the fact that out of the 17 or so, 13 of them are ministers who stepped down from their position of being ministers to contest for this position. And I’m saying that in 2000, all of them were there. I didn’t see so many people vying for this position until they’ve all been made ministers. So their behavior to me raises the question: where did all these monies come from? Because the 250 million cedies was actually just the down-payment to pick up a piece of paper and put their names on it,” he pointed out.