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General News of Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

State funding of parties wont stop ‘shady’ financing – John Boadu

The General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu, does not think the state financing of political parties will provide transparency on how the various parties are funded.

“I don’t think that resolves the problems,” he remarked on the matter of dubious funding of political parties on the Citi Breakfast Show.

Mr. Boadu’s comments follow the NPP National Delegate’s Conference, which was rocked by accusations of vote buying against the Freddie Blay, who emerged the winner in the national chairmanship race.

Mr. Blay was said to have facilitated the purchase of 275 minibuses for each constituency of the party ahead of the elections.

He admitted the political parties have not done enough on the issue of political party financing when they assume power.

“It is because we have been paying lip service to funding political parties, particularly when we are in opposition, we are so loud about it. When it comes to government, we are mute about it.”

Mr. Boadu also did not think citizens would be enthused about contributing to political parties.

“The General public thinks there is no point in putting a penny of their taxes to finance political parties and political individuals. That is another major [problem]. You need the concerns and acceptance of the people. We’ve not been able to communicate very well the need for funding political parties.”



Ultimately, he said the current laws need strengthing.

According to the Political Parties Act, a political party shall within six months from 31st December of each year, file the state of its accounts, the sources of its funds, membership dues paid, contributions or dominations in cash or kind, among others.

Mr. Boadu said “I think there is the need to strengthen our legal regime with regards to the filing of returns by all, including politicians. We need full disclosure of how resources are sourced and used.”

But the laws, as currently constituted, are not effective enough, he stated.

“I am so conversant with our political party laws with regards to funding and finances and the way it is, there is no way that particular law will resolve any of the problems.”

Blay facilitated the purchase of the minibuses, and reportedly made a down payment of $3 million, which constitutes 30% of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars for the 275 cars.



Freddie Blay purchased buses with UMB loan – Spokesperson

According to Richard Nyamah, Spokesperson for Mr. Blay, his boss contracted a loan facility from Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), to procure the 275 buses.]

Mr. Nyamah said discussions were held with the NPP and that the party “agreed and okayed the deal.”

“He has gone into an agreement with a bank, where the bank will make a profit and the constituencies at the end of every month, would also get some payments in their accounts to pay the party at the constituency level.”

The buses will also remain under the name of UMB, “until the facility is fully paid,” he added.

“When the facility is paid off, the buses will be owned by the constituencies and ownership transferred to them.”

A source at the office of the Special Prosecutor explained to Citi News that Martin Amidu is of the view that, Mr. Blay is a public officer as a Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and also as a national officer of the governing party with influence, he falls under the Criminal offenses Act (1960) Act 29, and must therefore be questioned on his source of funding.

Richard Nyamah had said in an earlier interview that Freddie Blay was ready to subject himself to any such investigation.