General News of Saturday, 9 August 2014
Minister of State In-Charge of Financial and Allied Institutions, Fifi Kwetey says the opposition New Patriotic Party's silence on the 'celebrity status' accorded Mr. Eric Amoateng at the Kotoka International Airport could be a subtle way of its endorsement of activities of drug peddlers.
Mr. Amoateng, a former Parliamentarian representing the people of Nkoronza North in the Brong Ahafo Region, was given a stimulating welcome by family members and party supporters at the Airport on Thursday, when he returned to the country after serving a 10-year jail term in the US for drug-related crime.
He was later whisked away by the police and detained the same day after Immigration officials discovered the passport used by the disgraced politician belonged to a woman.
He was charged with forging official document and was later granted bail on Friday to re-appear on August 26, 2014.
But speaking on Joy FM's Newsfile on Saturday, August 9, 2014, Mr. Kwetey said 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.
The former lawmaker who became a lawbreaker 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: “…the difficulty to distance itself [NPP] is an overt endorsement that they support activities of drug peddling”.
Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako also said calls for the opposition party to distance itself from the welcome party amounted to hypocrisy and a joke.
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 is a political prisoner? This is hypocrisy. That’s is a joke!” he said.
Contributing to the discussion, former Director of Communications for the NPP, Nana Akomea marveled at the call from the NDC when the incumbent Chief Executive for the Nkoranza District - an appointee of the governing party - he claimed, had called on the people to go to the Airport and welcome Mr. Amoateng back home after serving his punishment.
"Issue a statement for what?...I have heard the DCE from Nkoranza [Amoateng’s District]…asking the people of Nkoranza to go and welcome Amoateng at the Airport."
Although Nana Akomea disapproved of the use of party paraphernalia by individuals at the Airport, he said, however, that the party did not sanction it.
“He [Amoateng] has friends, he has relatives, and he has supporters. If people chose to go there in party colours, we are not going to punish them,” he said.