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General News of Friday, 22 October 2004

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

Smear Campaign Begins - Mallam Issa's missing $46,000

Accra, October 22, Chronicle -- The name of Mallam Issa, former Minister of Youth and Sports, who was thrown into jail because he could not account for $46,000 handed over to him as winning bonuses for members of the senior national football team, the Black Stars, in Sudan, has popped up in the NDC and NPP political game to win the Keta constituency seat.

Mr. Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, educationist/social scientist, former Minister of Trade and Industry, sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta and parliamentary candidate on the ticket of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the December elections is being accused of associating his main opponent, the New Patriotic Party candidate, Mr. Kudjo Fianoo with the Mallam Issa scandal.

The Chronicle sources at Abutia Kope, where Mr. Abodakpi held a mini rally on Tuesday October 5, said the MP was alleged to have asked the people not to vote for Fianoo because he had something to do with the missing money.

It was alleged that Abodakpi told the rally that Fianoo, then executive secretary of the Ghana Football Association, and others at the GFA 'ditched' the newly appointed Sports Minister.

Mr. Fianoo has confirmed that his supporters at Abutia Kope had told him that they heard the allegations on the day the NDC rally was held. He said his opponent had made similar charges against him about two months earlier, but he could not believe his ears but for the latest allegation attributed to him.

"He said it twice, but I have decided not to reply because what the people need from their MP is job creation and development, not insults."

"However, if we should play the game on the muddy pitches, I bet you, he will surely be the loser," he fumed and cautioned that he should not be pressed to the wall any further, lest he hit back harder.

Fianoo pulled out his passport from a drawer and recalled that he had left the Kotoka International Airport on Wednesday, 21st February 2001 on an Ethiopian Airlines flight via Addis Ababa, and arrived in Khartoum the following day, Thursday, February 22. "At that time, the money had

not yet been handed over to the minister. It was given to him on Friday, 23rd, the very day he left Ghana through Europe and he met us in Sudan the following day.

The money got missing before he arrived, so how could I have known anything about it?"

He said he had no ill feelings against Mallam Issah, even though he (Fianoo) testified for the prosecution when the case was being heard in court.

v "I remember that day in court after I testified, Mallam Issah shook hands with me, and many of his supporters embraced me outside the court. This showed that they were satisfied with what I told the court," he affirmed.

He called for a clean campaign, adding that Dan had been MP for 12 years and minister for a while, and should be talking about roads, streetlights, clinics and schools that his government had provided in the area.

When contacted, Mr. Abodakpi denied ever touching on that issue on any of his rounds anywhere, saying that he was above that kind of politics.

"It is a crazy allegation and an absolute trash. How can I make such allegations that I cannot substantiate? I will do everything I can to get to the bottom of this allegation," he stated.

He said those NPP members in the constituency who had been feeding Fianoo with information were doing so to extort money from him, and said he would be the last person to say such a thing.

The MP complained about another rumour in the constituency that he masterminded the recent failure of the district assembly to endorse Mrs. Gifty Aryeh, alias 'Daavi Ama' as the president's nominee for the post of District Chief Executive for Keta.

He denied the allegation and said he was not resourceful enough to sponsor such an agenda and would not even do that for anything.

Fianoo too debunked another 'cooked' story about him that he was placed in his present position by a former DCE for Keta, but he had not assisted people from the area who needed help.

He said he was at the Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC) when the NDC government divested it and he later joined the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA).

He challenged those fabricating the story to either prove how they put him there or name the players from the area that he had refused to help.

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