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General News of Thursday, 9 November 2000

Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

Kofi Wayo - Kofi Awoonor tussle over $5,000 gift

The Swashbuckling business tycoon and aspiring Member of Parliament for Ayawaso East, Mr. Kofi Wayo, and Presidential Staffer, Professor Kofi Awoonor are at each other’s throat over a $5,000 gift. While Wayo claims Awoonor took the money from him as his donation to the NDC, the NDC vice-chairman insist the donation had no political connotation. He said Wayo gave it to him for the Wheta Foundation, a Non-Governmental Orgainsation (NGO) set up by Awoonor in the Anlo area in the Volta Region.

Making this bizarre disclosure last Monday, at an NPP press conference held in Accra, Wayo explained that he gave the money to Awoonor in 1993 because he (Wayo) was impressed with the development policies of the NDC.

Wayo’s unexpected sidebar was provoked by a statement made by Professor Awoonor during the NDC’s recent press conference that accused him (Wayo) of intending to import M-16 guns into the country to be used by the NPP when it loses the elections. Wayo described Professor Awoonor as a man without integrity and asked him to shut up if he had nothing good to talk about.

Wayo said he came to realise the misapplication of his donation when he received a letter of appreciation from the Wheta Foundation, the NGO, instead of the NDC. The letter dated February 17, 1993, and signed by Professor Kofi Awoonor, Secretary of the Board of Trustees stated: Ambassador Awoonor has informed us of your generous donation of $5,000 to the Wheta Fund. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Wheta Foundation, and on behalf of Ambassador Awoonor, I wish to thank you most sincerely for your donation.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, this week. Awoonor explained he took the money from Wayo on behalf of the Foundation to purchase electric poles for an electrification project in Wheta, his home, and also to support the rehabilitation of a water pump at Ehie.

Explaining how he came to meet Awoonor in a later interview, Wayo said the Presidential Staffer then Ghana’s representative at the United Nations, told him he had been sent by the NDC to investigate his flirtations with one of the branches of the party in the states.

Wayo admitted making donations to the North American branch of the NDC and showed a copy of the receipt to this reporter. He said his donations were motivated by the information he was receiving from home about the tremendous developments and strides the nation was enjoying under the NDC government.

“It wasn’t so much of the party but I was kind of impressed by the beautiful policies packaged in the manifesto of the NDC for the development of the country. I saw a manifesto and I believed in it. I was concerned about my country. In America that is what you are taught, he said.

Wayo spoke also about his political career, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the economy, a Mills Presidency and his campaign programme.

On the economy, he said the suffering of Ghanaians was unjustified since the nation has abundant natural and human resources capable of being harnessed for the development of the nation. He blamed the ruling NDC party for the mess in the country accusing them of lacking the vision and foresight to navigate the distressed economy out of the storms buffeting it. Using the Quality Grain scandal in which the government doled out a whopping $27m to a US investor as an example. Wayo said that the money could have been put to better use if the government had used it to build up credit at the time when prices were low. This would have ensured constant supply and would have saved us all the trouble we are currently going through.

The whole motivation about leadership here in Ghana is to rob and milk the people for personal enrichment. There is no reason for Ghanaians to suffer. Our leaders are wicked they have no regard for God. The IMF has given us over $6b in loans and we have dissipated it all, he said.

He described a Mills Presidency as a disaster and warned the electorate to vote for Kufuor for a change in their lives. Explaining his lack of confidence in a Mills Presidency, Wayo said Veep Atta Mills had failed to deliver as the head of the Economic Management team that he had headed for the past four years.

Asked the programme he would pursue to better the lot of the people in his constituency, he said he would ensure that taxes are used to develop the basic infrastructure for development and also to set up safety nets for the disadvantaged in society.

Commenting on the GNPC, he said, it was the most corrupt establishment in the world, and assured that when the NPP wins power he would consider cleaning it up.