Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe Demands; Nana Konadu’s Aide Drops Family Secret
A firebrand of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is demanding a probe into the confession of the ex-President, Jerry John Rawlings’ that, he received a cash amount of 2 million dollars from the late Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abacha.
According to Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, “Ghana’s foreign policy posture in the Abacha years, was to support him in the global arena, even when he was guilty of gross human rights abuses”.
He questioned, “Was Ghana’s foreign policy bought by Abacha’s money in the pockets of Rawlings and his senior lieutenants?”
The NPP man’s demand, comes in the wake of revelations by Ernest Owusu Bempah; an aide to Rawlings’ wife, Nana Konadu, that Mr. Rawlings kept the briefcase in which the money was delivered to him by General Abacha’s courier, Ismaila Gwaizo, who was the then National Security Adviser, after emptying its content in 1998 for what Mr. Rawlings suggested, were national assignments six years into his democratic rule.
“Do you know that ex President Rawlings, has kept the briefcase that contained the money until date for evidential purposes? Indeed he still has that bag. Find out who Totobi was in the Rawlings regime at that time. Rawlings is not corrupt,” Owusu Bempah fumed.
But Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, an ex-military doctor insisted that “in the interest of probity and accountability, who accounted for the money that Abacha gave?
He charged “was it lodged with Bank of Ghana or lodged in the pockets of government officials?
Ex-President Rawlings in a recent interview with Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper, revealed that he received a cash amount of $ 2million dollars from his then Nigerian counterpart late Sani Abacha.
The issue became a big scandal in Ghana, following which the then NPP Minority in Parliament (MP) pushed for an independent board of enquiry to investigate the matter, but was turned down by the then Speaker of Parliament, Justice D.F Annan.
Mr. Rawlings in the Newspaper interview stated that, he was impressed about his late colleague, Gen. Abacha, since he never asked him for the said amount, nor sought his support financially.
He further added that, his colleagues in government knew about the issue and didn’t know why he should be keeping these things secret.
“Moreover, I didn’t have any personal account to be putting these things into anyway. Besides we needed to use them for some national needs.”
Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe recalled how “in the 90s when rumors of the Abacha cash surfaced, as members of the Alliance for Change we called for accountability. We added our voices to others like Wole Soyinka”.
To him, “People have been executed for less in this country so we must ask questions for posterity”.
“Remember there were even later allegations that Rawlings had chosen to lobby for Abacha instead of pursuing a Ghana agenda when he had a meeting with British Premier John Major. We were attacked as rumor mongers. Now that civil society and a new government are unraveling the truth about Abacha’s loot, it appears that some people want to give cover stories to rationalize their complicity”.
Kwaku Baako Jnr, who broke the story eighteen (18) years ago in the then ‘The Guide Newspaper ‘maintained that, ex President Rawlings, received $5million and not $2million, adding that the former Ghanaian leader, has been forced to come out publicly on the issue now, because he fears an imminent disgrace that is to befall him.
He was commenting on the issue on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show on Wednesday.
“I suspect that Mr. Rawlings has made this admission and disclosure because the current Nigerian President Buhari is undertaken a probe in corrupt activities in the past. Names are popping up…incidents are popping up. I hear the Nigerian Authorities will be consolidating all those things and make them public, I strongly suspect that our former President Rawlings is seeking to make a preemptive strike ahead of that official disclosure.
It will be recalled that when this bribe issue came up, the Nigerian government at the time led by MaJ. General Abdul Salam Abubakar came out to deny that no money had come from the Nigerian government or leader to Mr. Rawlings, and somehow it effectively killed the matter. For Rawlings to come back 18 years down the line and make this revelation is interesting.”
But the Communications Director of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Ernest Owusu Bempah, has said former National Security Coordinator, Kofi Totobi Kwakye and Dr Obed Asamoah, must answer for the whereabouts of the $2 million ‘bribe’ donated by ex Nigerian military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha to Ex President Rawlings.
According to him, these two personalities who were very powerful during the Rawlings regime are the best people to speak to what happened to that money, which generated a huge controversy.
Speaking to sit-in-host, Akwesi Nsiah on Si Me So on Kasapa 102.5 FM, Owusu Bempah, stated that Mr Rawlings only received the money on behalf of Ghana, but later had nothing to do with it.
“As a party we also know something; we’ll not sit down for people to tarnish the image of ex President Rawlings who we the NDP see as an inspiration to the party, whose ideals in politics which is probity, accountability and social justice has been incorporated into our party constitution.
“What at all is the issue with what ex President Rawlings has revealed. He’s indicated that that money was to help develop Ghana at a time we were in a transitional period from military rule to a democracy. That money was not Rawlings personal money it was for Ghana.
“I’m giving Ghanaians a lead…they should call Totobi Kwakye, some Ghanaians are saying that Rawlings took bribe, if they want to know exactly what happened to that money, Totobi Kwakye and Obed Asamuah, who are gurus in NDC right now must be questioned , that is what we know as a party.
Rawlings has not received bribe and he’ll never take bribe. If Kweku Baako claims he’s a senior journalist and is accusing Rawlings of taking bribe, he should rather go at the two leading NDC stalwarts. If he’ not being pushed he should go ahead and ask Totobi Kwakye about the whereabouts of the money. Rawlings has not touched any money.
“Do you know that ex President Rawlings has kept the briefcase that contained the money until date for evidential purposes? Indeed he still has that bag. Find out who Totobi was in the Rawlings regime at that time. Rawlings is not corrupt,” Owusu Bempah fumed.
Report On Rawlings’ anti-corruption and alleged $5million ‘gift’ from Abacha, the Guardian Newspaper wrote;
The point I want to make here is around that period, we were preparing for constitutional rule. We needed funds for some activities and we got contributions from few places. The interesting thing is that I never went to, or asked Abacha for any contribution. And this is something that impressed me about the man. I didn’t ask him for a penny. But he obviously understood certain situations, our situation, and graciously sent me a small suitcase of money. I think there were two cars or three that came to the Air Force station to look for me. I was going for fly at that afternoon.
So, I was at the Air Force Station when a gentleman came over there and when he said he had a message from Abacha, I cancelled my flight and they set out to wait for me. I drove after them to the castle. As we got out of the car and we were about to move up, this elderly gentleman, Gwarzo he is called, had one of his assistants try to bring out a suitcase from the boot of a car. I had an idea of what it could be. So I said: ‘Leave it, shut your boot and let’s go upstairs first and talk’. He said he had brought something from Abacha. I said two things: ‘I hear you people don’t provide assistance without the world hearing it with a twist’.
He just kept quiet looking at me. I said two: ‘Don’t think that when you bring this, whatever it is, that would shut me up from criticizing if I think you are wrong, or if I disagree.’ He then opened his mouth and said ‘Sir, we need you more than you need us’. I am quoting him. He didn’t speak much. He was a very noble, quiet looking and elderly man. He was respectable looking. In fact, what he said simply disarmed me. So I said it was okay. He could send for the parcel. His assistant then went and brought in the parcel: 2million dollars: new notes packed in plastic bags, fairly heavy. We left it in the sitting room.
We finished with some niceties and he left. I informed some of my close comrades of the parcel from Abacha. I gave away about 350,000 dollars to two people for urgent disbursements. One of our senior colleagues who was in charge of an exercise drew down certain amounts. We went on like this until the suitcase was exhausted. Later when Abacha died and your country instituted an investigation into his assets, I read in one of your newspapers that Mr. Gwarzo, this fine gentleman, allegedly said that he brought me 5million dollars. I am glad I still have that suitcase. It shocked me a bit that such a fine respectable man could make such a claim. The amount he mentioned shocked me. That he could tell such a lie.
My colleagues knew about it. I didn’t know why I should be keeping these things secret. Moreover, I didn’t have any personal account to be putting these things into anyway. Besides we needed to use them for some national needs.
But lo and behold! Many years down the line when I fell out with some of my colleagues and they decided to get poisonous, two of them wrote a book on district assembly elections and the decentralization programme, and inserted in somewhere, when it was absolutely not necessary, something about Gwarzo’s supposed $5million just to poison my name. I just feel sad that Gwarzo should do this. I am prepared to be subjected to polygraph test. May be that’s what he needs also.
When General Abubakar took over, I told him to watch out. That that report in the papers about $5million was $2million and not $5million. He didn’t make any comment. He didn’t say anything.
When Obasanjo, took over I thought I should straighten it out with him. The comment he made was: ‘Yes, that is how they behave. When they are given something to take somewhere, they will take the majority, the bigger share.’ That was the comment Obasanjo made.
I wasn’t used to those things. Otherwise, I could have called Abacha. I don’t even think I even called him over that. Maybe I should have called him to say thank you for the $2million and then he would have called his people to order. You see what I mean? I wasn’t used to money being thrown up and down. Money was not my thing. Yes, we were poor enough as a country, but we were working day and night to making sure we put the country on a solid foundation for economic explosion. We had our pride and our dignity was not out for sale.
I recall that in the early days I didn’t have any money in the account and somebody gave me a million dollar cheque. I just threw it on the workshop table. Eight years later, one of our comrades reminded me about the cheque and said we would need the money for something and I asked him to go look for it.
The mischief that our people get involved in hurt me. When I was a kid my grandmother used to say: ‘A liar is more dangerous than a thief’, and we could never understand it. It didn’t make sense to us, because as kids we were always denying something or telling fibs about something, and nobody gets hurt or anything. But you get whipped for stealing and more. When you grow up to my situation today then you wake up to what my Granny was saying, how liars are the most vicious and cowardly creatures. They can destroy a whole image and reputation.
That was why Chinua Achebe’s counterpart, Ayi Kwei Armah, wrote ‘The Beautiful Ones are Not Yet Born’. When I grew up, I realized he was wrong. The beautiful ones are born. They are there, but the platform is so dirty they dare not step on it to campaign to be leaders, because they would be slammed down with some of the nastiest fabrications. Nobody wants to have their name spoilt, so politics becomes a monopoly. No wonder he said the beautiful ones were not yet born.
But no, when I got in, I said no way. I brought the beautiful ones all on board when I came back the second time. That was how come we succeeded so beautifully. We provided a leadership of credibility and integrity. These are the hallmarks I stand for.