Over His 275 ‘Bribe Buses’ For NPP Delegates
The acting National Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has landed himself in the jaws of the anti-corruption group; the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) over his promise to share 275 new buses to all the 275 constituencies in the country.
Reports suggest that, Freddie Blay, is distributing the new buses across the country, and this has forced the GII to call for investigations into the source of funding for the 275 buses. They are to be shared to the constituencies, ahead of the party’s National Delegates Congress in July.
Apart from GII, people interested in accountability, are accusing Freddie Blay , who is the board chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Cooperation (GNPC) of vote-buying, while others are also questioning the cost of the vehicles, their country of origin and cost of shipment into Ghana.
But Mr. Blay’s Campaign Team, has said the NPP National Chairman aspirant acquired the 275 buses, with which he intends to “empower” the party, “through a facility”. It is not clear what the campaign team meant by a facility. It is also not clear, if Mr. Blay, took a loan from a financial institution.
The Head of Operations at the GII, Mary Addah, in an interview with Citi News, called on EOCO to investigate the move since it constitutes an attempt to buy votes ahead of the Congress.
“We are raising issues with any political office holder who is campaigning to be elected into office, promising the people to get them vehicles. Not just one, or two but 275 of them. We have issues with the legality of those type of promises. Whatever the case maybe. Whether it is his personal resources he is using or his gift from other cronies who might be funding his political party campaign.
“We have issues particularly because Freddie Blay has in the past been a Deputy Speaker of Parliament. He was a Member of Parliament. He is currently the acting Chairman of the NPP. He should know better and should not engage in enticing delegates to vote for him. That is purely vote buying and solicitation, which is wrong.”
In a statement signed by Mr. Blay’s spokesperson, Richard Nyamah, the campaign team of the Acting National Chairman, said the buses were not a “gift” to the party, adding that they were procured as part of the former Ellembelle MP’s quest to make the party viable business-wise, whether in power or not.
“Mr. Blay has indicated his belief in the NPP foundational principle of a property-owning democracy. To actualize it, he emphasised 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 statement clarified, in response to moves by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) to drag the former First and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament to the Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as well as the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) for allegedly seeking to buy votes with the bus move.
The GII is also seeking to find the source of funding for the procurement of the buses.
The Campaign Manager for the acting National Chairman of the NPP, Sylvester Tetteh, has rubbished claims of vote-buying against Freddy Blay, saying they are born out of ignorance.
Mr Tetteh, in a rebuttal on Eyewitness News, insisted Ms Addo’s claims were baseless.
“That [GII] lady is speaking from the position of ignorance. She has no idea what she is talking about. I think it is quite unfortunate. Clearly, Mr. Freddie Blay is not promising vehicles to delegates who are going to Koforidua to vote. We have over 300,000 people in each constituency averagely across the country, so the buses are not going to the delegates who are going to Koforidua but the party at the constituency level,” he clarified.
He further explained that, Mr Blay, would not foot the bill of these buses.
“It is the bank that is funding based on credibility and providing security. It is the bank that has done the due diligence of the proposals so for me that is the source of funding. Freddie Blay does not have that kind of money to buy these buses,” he explained.
Read the full statement of Mr Freddie Blay’s Campaign Team:
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 actualise it, he emphasised 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 GHS 100,000 Ghana Cedis each for all constituency women organisers 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 [programme] among other entrepreneurial policies that the government is introducing.
He emphasises 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 programmes of the government since the NDC does not believe in them and will only shoot such programmes 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 wrongdoing. 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)