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General News of Friday, 6 July 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Freddie Blay’s ‘charity’ smacks of vote-buying, corruption – Pelpuo

National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Wa Central, Rashid Pelpuo, has criticized acting National Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, over his decision to facilitate the purchase of some 275 buses for each constituency ahead of the party’s national executive elections.

According to reports, Mr. Blay as a guarantor, paid 3 million dollars which constitutes 30% of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars.

The constituencies are expected to pay for the vehicles over a two-year period. Speaking on the Citi TV’ s Breakfast Daily, NDC Member of Parliament for Wa Central, Rashid Pelpuo, said the move smacks of corruption.

“What is it that will enable him to be able to attract millions of dollars to purchase buses for a political party constituency? What is it? We should question it. There is something wrong in this whole matter and as a result , if you don’t address it, the question of corruption will always be in our midst”.

“If he wants to become Chairman and buys 275 buses for 275 constituencies, it’s because he knows he will get something in return. That is the beginning of corruption. In this sense, he is investing to become a Chairman. He wants something in return. The best thing was for him to have contested the election, win the election and say because I have won the election I am doing this for you, but now you are using it as a base to buy votes.”

A National Chairman aspirant of the NPP, Stephen Ntim, has also expressed similar sentiments, saying Freddie Blay’s procurement of 275 new buses for party executives in each constituency is an attempt to influence delegates who will vote in the party’s upcoming national executive elections on Saturday.

Freddie Blay on Wednesday took delivery of the first batch of 100 mini buses in honour of his campaign promise, to get them distributed to constituencies to help them finance their activities.

But Stephen Ntim, who is contesting Freddie Blay said at a press conference that the move is disingenuous.

“If you are really in love with your party or any organization that you belong to, you don’t wait till a situation arises where you need favour from the people before you say I’m giving you a bus. If you do that, it amounts to vote-buying. Why is it that during the 2016 campaign he didn’t bring 275 pickups, not even buses, but wait for the time when you say ‘vote for me and get these buses’. That amounts to vote-buying,” he said.

Stephen Ntim however advised the delegates not to be swayed by the gifts and offers from Freddie Blay.

Freddie Blay purchased buses with UMB loan – Spokesperson

According to Richard Nyamah, Spokesperson for Freddie Blay, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) aspiring Chairman contracted a loan facility from Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), to procure the 275 buses.

“He has gone into an agreement with a bank, where the bank will make a profit and the constituencies at the end of every month, would also get some payments in their accounts to pay the party at the constituency level.”

The buses will also remain under the name of UMB, “until the facility is fully paid,” he added.

“When the facility is paid off, the buses will be owned by the constituencies and ownership transferred to them.”

NPP ‘okayed’ Freddie Blay’s purchase of buses – Spokesperson

The Spokesperson also stressed on Eyewitness News that discussions were held with the NPP and that the party “agreed and okayed the deal.”

“In the event that there is anything wrong; any loses, Mr. Blay will bear the brunt of it. So if you are asking whose head is on the chopping block, it is Mr. Blay’s head,” the spokesperson said.