Drama Over NDC Bribe

The Mega bribery scandal involving the crème-de-la-crème of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and certain key members of President Atta Mills’ Cabinet on one side and Mabey & Johnson on the other, is provoking a great deal of drama since the revelation some five days ago. While some of the alleged recipients of the historic bribe case have admitted to the allegations, others say they need evidence of receipts to prove they received the monies mentioned. Some others also claim the amount alluded to them were too insignificant for them to collect as bribe. For instance, Alhaji Saddique Boniface, one of the seven politicians cited by the court in London, publicly admitted to collecting £500, while Dr Obed Asamoah denied ever being aware on the alleged monies, adding that the monies were too small to be called bribe. Boniface however denied collecting anything beyond that, saying someone might have collected the rest on his behalf. But the most dramatic response so far was Dr Kwabena Adjei’s open contention that the allegations against his party leadership should be dismissed unless receipts of the said bribes are produced. The NDC national chairman, in a statement issued on Monday, denied the Party had ever related to Mabey & Johnson, let alone collect bribes from the company. “Records available to the party do not reveal receipts of any such funds from the said company or its agents”, the statement said. In another vein, Dr Adjei did not call for receipts but claimed that the allegations were not factual simply because Alhaji Baba Kamara, who was reportedly one of the conduits for the funds disbursement through the ghost ‘Ghana Development Fund’, was the deputy treasurer of the party and not treasurer as claimed. Boring holes in the prosecution’s statement from the Southwark Crown Court, the chairman further said Kwame Peprah, Finance Minister in the last NDC regime, had never been chairman of the party’s Finance Committee. He therefore commended President Mills for directing the Attorney-General to investigate the matter. On the other hand, Alhaji Boniface said the £500 he took in 1995 was in support of his Masters education as a student in the UK and not as a politician to influence any activity in Ghana. “They knew I was there in London schooling, so they decided to give me £500 to support my education. To me at that time I was not doing any job so giving me that money was not to influence me to do anything.” For his part, former foreign minister and A-G, Obed Asamoah, who was also named, pleaded innocence, adding that at the time he assumed the position of A-G, the contract did not come to his notice. The UK-based company is said to have executed three contracts in the country between 1994 and 1998, during which a number of people were bribed to the tune of £470,000 and $750,000. For the damage caused to the country, Ghana has been offered reparation of £658,000 which President Mills has accepted, thereby nailing the guilt of the alleged recipients. Some of the alleged recipients included Dr Ato Quarshie, Hon Amadu Seidu, Dr Sipa Yankey, and Baba Kamara among others. With the exception of Boniface, all the other ‘bribers' have remained quiet as the country watches with choked silence.’