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General News of Sunday, 5 November 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Prosecute corrupt NDC functionaries if you have evidence - Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu has challenged the Akufo-Addo administration to punish alleged corruption by former President Mahama and National Democratic Congress (NDC) functionaries.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says the opposition NDC is fed up with the litany of allegations leveled against its members without proof by the NPP government.

Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis show Newsfile on Saturday, he said Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution is clear about who has the authority to investigate and prosecute crime and corruption urging the Attorney General to act swiftly.

“What is all this about, that we [NDC functionaries] are corrupt, we have stolen Ghana’s money, we have taken cocoa funds after losing the election and we have spent over $400 million?” he queried.

His comments come at the heels of a news conference by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Chief Executive who alleged corrupt acts by the previous government. Joseph Boahen Aidoo has accused the John Mahama administration of “syphoning” millions of dollars from the Board's accounts.

He said former COCOBOD CEO, Dr Stephen Opuni, “used export duty payments from COCOBOD as a conduit to syphon funds for activities not related to cocoa.” Mr Aidoo made the revelation at a news conference Wednesday, in a sharp response to cocoa-related issues raised by the Minority in Parliament at Bodi in the Western Region.

“This amount was taken from COCOBOD in the name of “exercise” duty (in the word of the then Deputy Minister of Finance – a Board member of COCOBOD Casiel Ato Forson). The payment under export duty was to make it appear legitimate,” he added.

But the former Deputy Education Minister MP accused the NPP government of lacking the moral courage and evidence to prosecute the NDC functionaries. “Why are we walking as free men? Why can’t you take action if people have bought motorbikes for ¢17,000 which has turned out to be blatant falsehood? Please deal with it he,” he said.

Mr Ablakwa said the NPP has been on accusing the NDC of corruption for years and since it now has power, it should go ahead and punish wrongdoers and not go about holding press conferences.

The NDC MPs have accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of shortchanging farmers by refusing to increase the cocoa producer price.

The Minority argued the foundation laid by the past NDC government was good enough for an increase in the producer price from the current ¢475 per bag to a higher one.

Bodi MP, Sampson Ahi, said before exiting power in January 2017, the NDC left more than $400 million in revenue from cocoa.