Over 275 ‘Bribe Buses’
The National Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, finally showed up in court yesterday to fight off an anti-graft body seeking to have him jailed for not cooperating with corruption investigation.
National Chairman NPP, Freddie Blay
Swarmed by lawyers and loyalists, the 77-year old politician, emerged out of the Accra High court and told a pool of reporters, the application by the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is “incompetent.”
For months CHRAJ, has expressed frustration the party leader, has been evading receipt of documents seeking his response to allegations he procured 275 buses for his party through corruption.
The Coalition for Social Justice, filed a petition with CHRAJ in July 2018, asking the anti-graft body to investigate Mr Blay, for the procurement of the vehicles. But there appears to be a year of cat and mouse game between CHRAJ and the party leader.
CHRAJ says, Mr Blay, even refused to honour subpoenas. The politician, has rejected all the accusation and launched his own, accusing CHRAJ of playing politics.
In his affidavit in court, the NPP National Chairman, maintained he has at no point disrespected, maligned or disobeyed any directive from CHRAJ.
He maintained he has shown up in court, not because he had received any court summons or documents from CHRAJ, but because several media reports had circulated that he was nowhere to be found.
Freddie Blay, said he cannot be cited for contempt of court or of CHRAJ, because there is no evidence “directly or remotely that I have been personally served with any process from the Applicant’s office.”
He said far from hiding, he actually took the initiative to seek these documents, when he wrote to the court registry requesting for them. The registry is yet to supply him, his affidavit read.
He said, the application by CHRAJ, accusing him of contempt is “fatally flawed and procedurally incompetent.”
Justice George Koomson, who is hearing the case directed CHRAJ’s legal counsel to file a written response to Freddie Blay’s affidavit within 14 days.
He adjourned the case to July 24, to deliver judgment on the contempt application.
Freddie Blay, who is Board chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) has disclosed that the deal to import 275 buses is meant to help the party finance itself through commercial activities.
He said, he made a $3million down-payment, while an undisclosed bank is bringing in funds to bring the deal to not more than $11m.
Under the deal as disclosed by him, the loan is to be paid back within two years.
The deal was a popular promise with NPP delegates ahead of the election of National Executives. Each Constituency would receive some money, as the bus works for it at STC Transport Company.
But critics inside the party, called it a vote-buying gimmick, while those outside it found the deal suspicious.