Feature Article of Saturday, 10 November 2012

Columnist: Darko, Otchere

President Must Answer All Allegations Against Him

Including The Allegation That He Owns Three Houses In London; All Estimated To Value Over One Million Pounds.

It is interesting to note that President Mahama has finally come out publicly to refute the allegation that he stole part of a World Bank loan given to Ghana at the early stages of President Mills’ administration of which he was the second in command. Even though the President made the refutation ‘casually’ on a campaign platform in the North where “he was addressing a rally in the Upper West regional capital Wa to round up his campaign tour of that part of the country last night”; and, further, even though he seemed to have over-sensationalised his denial of the allegation through his use of words like “Who Jah bless, no man curse", nonetheless, he has done what Ghana’s customary law expects an accused person to do if he (the accused) believes that he has been accused falsely. In English law, which Ghana has copied, an accused does not need to answer any question put to him about an accusation to prove his innocence. Usually lawyers advise their clients to stay silent to avoid implicating themselves where they are not sure of the implications of whatever they say. Put otherwise, in modern Ghanaian law “silence does not mean acceptance of guilt”. However, in most Ghanaian customary law, remaining silent about an allegation made against you is presumed to mean acceptance of the allegation and, therefore, of your guilt. This is why it is important that the President should make it a regular practice to come out publicly to deny or accept any harmful allegation regularly made against him, no matter whether or not he believes that such allegation originated from his “detractors”.

Having said that it is not true that he (President Mahama) has stolen any money out of a World Bank loan to Ghana and saved it in a Swiss bank, Mr Mahama must also publicly answer two other questions that hinge on official corruption and cast doubt on his integrity as President. These are:-

(1) Is it true that ex-President Mills, before his death, set up or wanted to set up a Commission to probe him (the Vice President) over any allegation of impropriety about his involvement in the purchase of two aircrafts and other related equipment as it has been publicly alleged by the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice (Mr Amidu)?
(1) Is it true that he (former Vice President, now President John Mahama) has bought or owned through any other means three houses in the United Kingdom during the four-year Mills/Mahama administration that has a couple months to end, as it has been alleged by one Mrs Sandra Alhassan (MBA) of Ghanaian Women against Poverty and Disease
Walpole Court, Building E Ealing studios, Ealing, London W5 5ED? The said houses are allegedly located in Surrey, Essex and North London with details of the street names included in the Ghanaweb Feature article that contained the allegations. [Reference: Ghanaweb Feature Article of Monday, 5 November 2012.]

*It must be noted that I am aware of a feature article (rejoinder) written by one Mr “Alex Seshie-Vanderpuije, Public Relations Officer, NDC UK & Ireland Chapter” that was published on 7th November 2012 and which sought or attempted to pour ice on the allegation made by Mrs Sandra Alhassan. I totally reject the denial made by the said Mr Alex Seshie-Vanderpuije for the same four reasons he adduced as the basis for his rejection of Mrs Alhassan’s allegation. His four reasons are: - (1) that the contents of the article are a fabrication. How can he say the contents are a fabrication without proving it? At least, Mrs Alhassan gave the locations of the three houses and the purchase prices of two of the three houses to back her story. He (Mr Vanderpuije) never challenged this extra information in any way, except to say “the contents of this article are false and intentionally fabricated”. (2) His second reason that “our investigations at the Charity Commission in the UK revealed that no such Ghanaian organisation operates in the UK” is very weak and irrelevant. Mrs Alhassan never said in her article that the charity of which she was chairperson was registered in the UK [or anywhere]. A charity does NOT have to be registered anywhere, as long as it is private and does not raise funds from public sources. *I myself have a charity for old people, the sick and poor people, and students in need, of which I am the founder and patron. I raise funds from private sources (self, family and friends) to finance the charity. My charity exists in reality; and it operates in Ghana with real beneficiaries; but I have NOT registered it in the country where I live (UK). (3) The third reason adduced by Mr Vanderpuije which is “that the President has not authorised for himself the payment of huge amount of salary increase for himself or his cabinet as the president does not sit on the salary committee” is the weakest of his (Mr Seshie-Vandapuije’s) four reasons for denying Mrs Alhassan’s allegation. [Parliament’s] salary committee can NEVER sit to approve the salary of the President unless it has been referred to it (the so-called “salary committee”) from somewhere. Let Mr Vanderpuije read article 68(3) of the 1992 Constitution. (4) His fourth reason for reputing the allegation which is that “we can also confirm on authority that President Mahama has not got a house in the UK, let alone three houses as alleged in the said article” is very baseless. How can Mr Alex Seshie-Vanderpuije [and others] confirm “on authority” that the President has not got a house or houses in London [England rather, since two of the locations alleged are not parts of London]. They never said where their “authority” came from. *MY MOST CRUCIAL REASON FOR REJECTING MR VANDERPUIJE’S DENIAL OF MRS ALHASSAN’S ALLEGATION, HOWEVER, IS THAT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR PRESIDENT MAHAMA HIMSELF TO REFUTE OR ACCEPT THE ALLEGATION, RATHER THAN ALLOW ANOTHER PERSON TO DENY IT FOR HIM. *AFTER ALL, THERE IS AN IMPORTANT GHANAIAN [TWI] PROVERB OR SAYING THAT GOES LIKE THIS [AND I QUOTE]: “OBI NNOM ADURU MMA OYAREFUO” WHICH, LITERALLY TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH, MEANS “NOBODY DRINKS MEDICINE FOR AND ON BEHALF OF A SICK PERSON”.

Source: Otchere Darko