President John Evans Atta Mills has ordered the security agencies to investigate Herbert Mensah for alleging that he has sanctioned GH˘90million to be used in his bid to retain his position as National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer for the 2012 election.
However, former president Jerry John Rawlings, who allegedly received the security tapes containing the voice of President Mills holding discussions about the GH˘90million for his re-election campaign, would not be investigated.
The President who spoke impeccable Fante to Asempa FM said, “Where I have reached in my career, it is not the time for me to disgrace myself. I have therefore ordered our agencies to conduct investigations into the allegation so that Ghanaians would know the truth.”
The move is likely to heighten the already tense situation in the ruling NDC which is trying to stay united ahead of its delegates’ congress to select a flagbearer for December 2012.
The congress is slated for Sunyani, Brong Ahafo, from July 8 to10, 2011.
President Mills’s attempt to seek re-election is facing stiff opposition from former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, wife of Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings who has also picked her nomination forms to contest the President.
A third force has come in the person of Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, who until Tuesday May 10, was a Vice Chairperson of the party and has also picked his nomination forms to contest the two ‘giants’.
President Mills said, “I have also heard about the allegation that I am going to use that huge amount for my campaign. I do not know where it is coming from. I heard they brought me a budget but nobody has presented to me any budget and I have also not given any approval.”
“Atta Mills has no budget for campaign. It is well wishers who are bringing it. Whoever wants to bring GH˘90million to Atta Mills should take it to the contractors who are working at Sofoline, Suhum and other places where projects are going on.”
The President said he needed money urgently to complete projects and mentioned the Sofoline project in Kumasi where he said could ‘transform’ the Garden City when completed.
“Look at Achimota-Ofankor highway…I was there last Friday and saw how motorists were struggling. When I passed through the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina recently, I had to bow down my head. If I have that money I would use it to complete those projects for Ghanaians to be satisfied.”
President Mills said if indeed he bought the delegates, it would be an insult to their integrity and conscience, saying, “I laugh when that amount of money is mentioned.
Money which is equivalent to $60million…do you know what I can do with that money?”
He said he was sad that somebody could concoct such a story and put it out in the media, adding, “If I can use $60million for congress then when it gets to the general election, I will have to break the Bank of Ghana for the money.
“This election we are going to have in Sunyani, I have already won it so why do I go for ˘90million. The agencies must investigate and come out with the truth.”
He claimed that the cost of his campaign was borne by well wishers without mentioning anybody. When reached on telephone later, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd.), National Security Advisor, confirmed that the President had ordered investigations into Herbert Mensah’s GH˘90million allegation.
He said, “It is a serious allegation. It borders on corruption so it needs to be investigated.“We will invite Herbert Mensah for questioning when he returns from a trip abroad. There are so many allegations flying around and we need to investigate and come out with the truth.”
The General said Herbert Mensah had made things difficult for them by making allegations but not providing the purported tape recordings, adding, “We will ask him for the tapes when he comes back. Corruption is not something I would encourage so when you make allegations bordering on corruption, you would have to prove it. He must play the tape for everybody to hear it. The media must show interest and pursue Herbert Mensah for the tape.”
When asked why the former President was also not being invited, after Herbert Mensah claimed that the tape emanated from the former President’s home, the National Security Advisor said, “It is Herbert Mensah who is publicly making the allegation but when ex-President Rawlings returns from his trip abroad I would personally speak to him.”
When news about President Mills’s GH˘90million campaign cash hit the media, it was Victor Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic and former aide to ex-President Rawlings, who first reacted angrily from his Prague base, saying the revelation of secret tapes was an indication that Mr. Rawlings was spying on President Mills.
The tape, according to Herbert Mensah, who describes himself as a friend of the Rawlingses, revealed that the Mills Camp had been caught on tape discussing spending GH˘90million on his re-election bid as NDC flagbearer.
“The tapes were brought to us…we listened to those tapes… it had details of other areas including intimidation, including alternative bank account details, naming of persons in government, people in the Castle. I do not want to go into detail…I do not want to inflame the situation further than that,” Herbert said.
According to him, he listened to the tapes together with the ex-President and it was clear that the huge amount was going to be used to influence delegates to select President Mills as the party’s flagbearer whilst at the same time ensuring the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, did not succeed in her presidential bid.
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