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General News of Friday, 6 July 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

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

Amid the allegations of vote buying, a spokesperson for Freddie Blay, Richard Nyamah, has said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was behind the acting Chairman’s decision to purchase a bus for each of the party’s 275 constituencies.

Mr. Nyamah said discussions were held with the NPP and that the party “agreed and okayed the deal.”

The deal to finance the purchase of the buses was signed with Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) according to Mr. Nyamah. Mr. Blay has been widely criticized when he took delivery of the buses in honor of his promise to get them distributed to constituencies.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Nyamah said “the party has gotten involved. The General Secretary [John Boadu], for instance, witnessed. Some constituency executives, three or four of them, joined as trustees. Mr. Freddie Blay is the guarantor.”

Mr. Nyamah also said there was no credence to the vote-buying claims as the ultimate beneficiary of the buses would be the NPP as a party.

“Mr. Blay is the head of the party. If he brings an idea and it benefits the NPP, I don’t think you can divorce the two.”

However, Mr. Nyamah said Mr. Blay had the most stake in the buses.

“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.

No vote buying

He stressed that Mr. Blay was not engaged in vote buying, despite claims from the other National Chairman aspirant, Stephen Ntim.

Mr. Nyamah said the plan for the buses was “started in March 2017” and that “this very contract we are talking of was actually signed in 2017.”

“At no point did me or Mr. Blay or any member of this team say we are giving the buses to the constituencies. From the onset, we have been very clear in our mind… that the buses are going to be in the care of the state Transport Company Limited.”

“They are going to take custody of it, run them professionally, and monthly pay the banks off and send the rest to the constituencies.”

Special Prosecutor probe

Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, is now investigating Mr. Blay over how he funded the purchase of 275 buses for all 275 constituencies of the party.

Mr. Blay, who facilitated the purchase of the minibuses, is reported to have made a down payment of 3 million dollars, which constitutes 30 percent of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars for the 275 cars.

A source at the Office of the Special Prosecutor told Citi News that Mr. Amidu will go ahead with the investigations whether or not Mr. Blay wins this Saturday’s election.

The source said Mr. Martin Amidu is of the view that, Mr. Blay is a public officer as a Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and also as a national officer of the governing party with influence, he falls under the Criminal offenses Act (1960) Act 29, and must therefore be questioned about his source of funding.