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General News of Monday, 5 June 2017

Source: Class FM

Rawlings is bitter – NDC group

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Former President Jerry John Rawlings is pained that his former spokesperson Victor Smith worked in the interest of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) rather than his (Mr Rawlings’) personal interest, Godsway Agbodo, Convener of Pro-NDC group Eastern Forum Network, has said.

According to him, Ghana’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, channelled financial resources that came through the office of Mr Rawlings to the party’s activities ahead of the 2008 elections, as a way of supporting the NDC’s agenda in the 2008 polls.

This, Mr Agbodo said, infuriated Mr Rawlings, hence his public backlash against him.

On Sunday, Mr Rawlings revealed for the first time that he fired Mr Victor Smith as his Secretary years ago because the former Ambassador to the UK wanted to divert campaign funds which some Nigerians in the United States wanted to wire to the campaign team of Prof John Evans Atta Mills ahead of Ghana’s 2008 elections through him (Rawlings).

Mr Smith, who recently described his relationship with his former boss as “not the best,” was fired by Mr Rawlings on 9 April, 2008 via text message ahead of that year’s general elections.

In his version of the story, Mr Smith said Mr Rawlings fired him because he (Mr Smith) supported late Prof John Mills’ choice of Mr John Mahama as running mate at the time, against the wishes of the Rawlingses.

Presenting his side of the story in Wa at the 38th anniversary of the 4 June 1979 uprising, Mr Rawlings said: “I used to have a secretary called Victor Smith; we fell out. It wasn’t so much because of disagreement over John Mahama and yet that’s what he’s touting. And yet I guess he like a few of us who want to be president have stepped back being promised, of course that he will make them running mates, I presume.

“Listen, why did I turn against this boy called Victor Smith?” the former military ruler asked. “He (Mr Smith) was my Secretary. Some Nigerians invited us to the USA – I had left office – to come and give a talk and commission some business for them. We went. When we returned, subsequently – months or how many years later – when Prof Mills was our flag bearer, then this Nigerians decided to help, so, they were dealing with my office, Mr Victor Smith. Now I subsequently heard about it because there was a to-and-fro over this money, contribution issue till somebody finally called me that this is what is going on: ‘They know me, they want to give me the money and I can pass it on, not give it to Victor Smith and Victor Smith is saying that: ‘no, he would take it to the prof, [because] I’m not the one who is going to be the candidate,’ blah blah blah blah that type of rubbish. So, they come out through somebody and said: ‘This is what is going on.”

Mr Rawlings continued: “Eventually, the contribution did not even come. It did not come. I did not receive any contribution from them, through Mills, through Smith, or directly through the person who came to see me also and I don’t believe that they sent it to Mills and I don’t believe that Prof Mills received any money from that place because I think they got fed up with the way this man was behaving.”

“And yet, when the time to pour poison on me started, this secretary of mine was telling the world on radio stations that contribution was coming for a certain nationalistic duty and he had stopped it and diverted it to the flag bearer. In other words, he had stopped it from coming to me. I was disgusted that this guy would make up such a story. And you know the one who angered me the most? Our Prof Mills who knew the truth but kept quiet for this poison to burn me – I was fraudulent,” Mr Rawlings complained.

But commenting on this in an interview with Accra News’ Obeng Mensah on Monday June 5, Godsway Agbodo said: “These comments by the former President are unfortunate because Victor Smith is a man of integrity and a man who detests corruption.

“Mr Rawlings’ main problem is that Victor Smith chose NDC as number one and chose Rawlings as number two. That has infuriated him and his supporters.”

He added: “Victor Smith has not engaged in any 419 with anybody, he supported the NDC with resources that came through his office.”

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