Years After Naming Street After Him…As Fifi Kwetey & Kweku Baako Clash Over Who is Who
Eight years after naming a street after him in a grand ceremony attended by chiefs, people and politicians including, Parliamentarians while in custody in the United State of America (USA), the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its group of lawyers, have unusually abandoned Eric Amoateng.
The leadership and lawyers of the NPP, who are known to exhibit a high sense of camaraderie, always rallying to the rescue of even the least of its members, has since Thursday shun the company of their ex-Member of Parliament (MP), Amoateng, who spent 10 years in American jail, after he was arrested over a US$6 million-drug trafficking case.
The ex-MP, described as a very generous man, was left in the hands of family and friends including, ordinary party members some of who are smashing properties of journalists, who dared taking photographs of him as he faces yet another criminal charge of forging a passport and using it to travel to Ghana.
It will be recalled how the NPP leadership with its lawyers, jumped to the rescue of some of its ministers and appointees including, Kwadwo Mpianim, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Charles Wereko-Brobby, Dr. Richard Aname, Kennedy Ohene-Agyapong, Yaw Buaben Asamoah, OB Amoah, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei and others, who were suspected to have fallen fowl of the law.
There were instances where they stormed security facilities such as the Bureau National Investigations (BNI), Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters and even courts with war-song-chanting-thugs, destroying private and public properties demanding the release of their member. But this was not the case with Mr. Amoateng, who returned home last week Thursday.
Copiously missing was Major (rtd) Derek Oduro, the man who succeeded him as the MP for Nkoranza North, and had hugely influenced the chiefs and people of Busunya in the Nkoranza North District of the Brong Ahafo region to name streets after Mr. Amoateng and the Principal of Sunyani Polytechnic, Professor Kwasi Nsiah Gyabaah; natives of Busunya.
According to Joy FM news report dated April 10, 2007, the Busunya chiefs, honoured Mr. Amoateng and his colleague for their contribution to the socio-economic development of the area. Two sign posts bearing their names were subsequently unveiled at a fund-raising Easter rally in support of development projects.
Maj. (rtd) Derek Oduro, then the newly elected MP for Nkoranza North, unveiled the sign post for his predecessor, whiles the then Nkoranza District Chief Executive (DEC), James Appiah-Awuah outdoored that of Prof. Gyabaah.
Mr. Amoateng, who was on trial then, was said to have helped among others to finance the construction of eight streets and drainage systems in the town, which is in the capital of the Constituency.
Professor Gyabaah, was honoured for his personal academic achievements, having attained the highest level of education in the history of the town. Besides being an inspiration to the youth, he was also lauded for providing various forms of support to students in the area.
The chiefs of the town said, the two deserves the honour because they have done a lot to improve the living conditions of the people.
Meanwhile, Akwasi Amoateng, son of the ex-convict and former Ghanaian Legislator, has said that he was proud to bear his father’s name, despite the former law maker’s 10-year imprisonment for drug trafficking.
“For me as a son, I have to be very proud of my dad. I don’t feel ashamed walking about bearing the name Amoateng,” he said last Friday.
His father was met on arrival by fresh troubles: allegations of fraud in his acquisition of a passport. He allegedly used documents of a lady to acquire his current passport.
Amoateng was taken to Court on Friday and granted bail, after having gone through security interrogations and investigations by the Narcotics Control Board, the BNI, the CID and the Immigration Service.
The philanthropist’s family, were angered by his immediate arrest upon touching down at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). They said the incident ruined an otherwise long-awaited re-union.
Amidst the drama, Amoateng’s son said: “When you mention the name Amoateng, there are some people who are proud and there are some people who dislike it. There are some people who do not relate to him but still hold the name Amoateng… I walk as an ordinary young man and I wonder whether people will like to have anything to do with me just because I bear the name Amoateng,” Akwasi told Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station.
The former MP, stayed in police custody throughout Saturday, a day after he was granted bail by an Accra Circuit Court. His family explained that the court registrar was not available to sign his bail documents, although a bail condition of GH¢200, 000 with three sureties, have been satisfied fully.
Mr. Amoateng, who has been charged with possessing forged document was in the cells at the Nima Divisional Police Command.
Meanwhile, former Director of Communications for the NPP and former colleague MP of Mr. Amoateng, Nana Akomea has expressed surprise at the turn of events, because according to him, as a convict, Mr. Amoateng did not need to have a passport to be extradited from the US to Ghana.
Speaking on Newsfile on Joy FM last Saturday, the former Okaikoi South MP, advised that comprehensive investigations be conducted to establish the truth of the allegation.
“I don’t know if that story is true and if it’s true, I would like a thorough investigation to be done into that,” Nana Akomea stated in defence of Mr. Amoateng, who will reappear in court on August 26, 2014.
On the same platform, Food and Agric Minister, Fifi Kwetey noted that the NPP’s silence on the ‘celebrity status’ accorded Mr. Amoateng at the KIA, could be a subtle way of its endorsement of activities of drug peddlers.
Mr. Kwetey argued that the NPP’s silence over the use of its emblem on T-shirts and placards held by persons who crowded the Airport to welcome Mr. Amoateng, was deafening.
According to him, the former law-maker who became a law-breaker had brought embarrassment to the country, the legislature and himself, and therefore ought not to be celebrated in such a manner, the Ketu South MP noted.
“What we saw at the Airport was totally uncalled for… the party should have made a very strong pronouncement,” he insisted.
He conjectured, the inability of the NPP to condemn the behaviour of its supporters was probably because of the support it obtained from Mr. Amoateng who, was said to be a major financier of the party prior to his incarceration.
“Being silent as they are…it could only mean that they [NPP] are still indebted to the ‘good things’ that the man [Amoateng] may have done,” Fifi guessed.
His position was corroborated by a member of the Communications Team of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel George, who described the NPP’s posture as shocking.
He added that “…the difficulty to distance itself [NPP] is an overt endorsement that they support activities of drug peddling”.
But the Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako said, the NDC cannot claim the moral high-ground over the NPP relating to this issue when it went public to describe persons convicted by the law courts, as political prisoners.
Three key former government functionaries – Tsatsu Tsikata, George Sipa Yankey, Victor Selormey (deceased) and Dan Abodakpi – were all jailed to varied prison terms of wilfully causing financial loss to the state during the NPP regime, led by President J.A Kufuor.
They were, however, granted presidential pardon in January 2009, except Victor Serlomey, who was released in 2004 due to deteriorating health, but died shortly thereafter.
According to Mr. Baako, the NDC subsequently published a document, indicating that the individuals, who were prosecuted and sentenced by the courts, were “political prisoners”. “So every NDC man who was jailed was a political prisoner? This is hypocrisy. That’s a joke!” he said.