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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Columnist: Amonu, Kofi

Akufo-Addo Cannot Ignore This Drug Accusation.

Akuffo-Addo, the NPP presidential candidate for the forthcoming elections, has been accused by his one-time close associate, Kofi Wayo, of being a hard drug addict. While the fact has not been substantiated, I must say that I heard this gossip many years ago but paid little attention to it because I thought it might be a long ago Secondary School days 'madrax-apio-wee' type of thing but as the years went by rumours came out that it is much more serious than I suspected. Weeks after the accusation, Ampem Chambers, the solicitors for Akufo-Addo, came out to deny Wayo's finger pointing and warned the media to check their facts before publishing them.

At this time the case is a 'he says, they say'. Akufo can decide ignore the matter but the onus is on him to fight it because it is definitely costing him votes, defaming his character and that of the country as well as leaving some pertinent question unanswered. Akufo is known to be a vociferous person who comes out personally and promptly to defend charges against the NPP vehemently so why is he mute over such a serious one against him? Why did it take his lawyers so long to answer? Why is the Ampem Chambers' refutation so soft and why did they stop short of challenging Wayo? Why would Wayo, himself is a presidential candidate, make such a libelous statement knowing that if found to be untrue can cost him serious money and all his political hopes? If the statement were false, why would Akufo not fight and win it to score political points?

The charge has serious implications on the image of Ghana. The case of Eric Amoateng, the NPP MP for Nkoranza North, who is currently languishing in a New York detention for importing $6 million worth of heroin into America, has already attracted world attention. Nigerian newspapers are now claiming that Ghana is the new leading drug exporter in West Africa and descent Ghanaian travelers have been subjected to very discomforting body searches at overseas airports. Akufo is a former lawmaker who supported the Transfer of Convicted Persons Act 2007, (otherwise known as the 'Amoateng Bill') which allows for convicted Ghanaian overseas to be returned to Ghana to serve their time. Does Akufo have anything to gain from this Bill at the expense of the country? It is Akufo's prerogative to ignore the case but it will forever remain like a guillotine around his neck until he comes out of it clean or disappears from the political scene.

I may be wrong but I doubt it.

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