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General News of Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Thumb-printed ballots: Two hotel workers arrested as manager denies issuing statement

The acting Manager of Madison Lodge has denied issuing a statement that linked the Ashanti Region Chairman of the New Patriotic Party to the thumb-printed presidential ballots which were retrieved from the Lodge yesterday.

Benjamin Owusu, who is also son of the owner of the guest house told Luv FM's Erastus Asare Donkor two of his staff have been arrested by the police to assist in investigations.

He however denied the involvement of his workers in a plot that saw thousands of ballot papers thumb-printed for the president, John Mahama.

Three bags containing thousands of already thumb-printed ballots were retrieved Monday morning after the NPP chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako led a team of police men and journalists to the Madison Lodge, a Guest House in Nhyaeso in the Ashanti Region.

Shortly after the bags were retrieved, the EC and the police declared the ballots as fake claiming they will not have any influence at all on the election.

No sooner was a statement issued purporting to have come from owners of Madison Lodge accusing the NPP chair of masterminding the whole incident.

"The attention of Madison Lodge has been drawn to images and videos circulating on social media, alleging that thumb-printed ballot papers were found in our hotel rooms.

"We wish to state the following

"1. On Saturday, December 3 at 7:20PM, a gentleman by name Andy Owusu, who is a known face in Kumasi and special Assistant to Chairman Wontumi, booked three rooms, he said was meant for some investors of his business.

"2. He dropped 2 Bags and stayed in the room for 2 hours with a fair lady.
"3. Chairman Wontumi, on Sunday, led Police men and media to our hotel premises to the very room his assistant booked, only to be told they were thumb printed Ballot.

"4. We see this as scandalous and an attempt to destroy our brand as one of the serene hotels in Kumasi," the statement, signed by one Evans Nuamah said.
But for the first time owners of the Lodge have broken their silence on the matter denying ever issuing the first statement which has been trending on social media.

He suspects the statement may have been coming from the perpetrators of the crime.

Benjamin Owusu indicated that even though he was not present when the incident happened he has adequately been briefed by the workers about what happened.
Narrating what he was briefed on, the acting manager said a man rented the guest house with a lady Sunday night.

The man was said to have entered the room with the three bags. Neither was his identity taken by the receptionist nor were the bags searched.

Mr Owusu reported the receptionist as saying that the man was tired and promised to give all information about himself the following morning.

He however failed to do so and left the Guest House shortly before it was invaded by the police and Chairman Boasiako, Monday morning.