POLITICAL FEATHERS have been ruffled in the Rivers State of Nigeria over revelations that an amount of $3.5 million of Nigerian taxpayerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s money was secretly given to GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to help the party finance its 2008 election campaign.
The laws of Ghana do not permit political parties to solicit sponsorship from a foreign country or non-Ghanaians.
The Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, is accused of having given out the said amount to the NDC and that it was allegedly channeled through former President Jerry John Rawlings, who visits the Rivers State quite often and is a personal friend of the governorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s.
Pointblanknews.com, a Nigerian-based online media house, first broke the news and the publisher, Jackson Ude, in a telephone interview with DAILY GUIDE alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating Governor Amaechi for money-laundering and financial misappropriation.
The report claimed that Ã¢â‚¬Å“according to credible sources, part of the money that Amaechi is struggling to reconcile in the books may have actually gone into providing funds for the ruling party in Ghana, an alleged contribution to the election of incumbent Ghanaian President, John Atta Mills. A whopping Four Hundred Million, about $3.5 million, was allegedly transferred to facilitate the process in Ghana.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Former Ghanaian dictator, Flight Lt. Jerry John Rawlings (Retired), has been identified as the alleged conduit through which the huge sums were transferred to the ruling party in Ghana.
Rawlings has been a regular visitor to Rivers State. Another individual identified as a courier for Governor Amaechi is one Nyeson Wike, an aide to Amaechi.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Amaechi is said to have also invested several millions in blue chip companies in Ghana. He and other Governors in Nigeria are said to have devised a new strategy of investing stolen loots from Nigeria to neighboring countries, and Ghana with its seemingly stable economy has become a favored destination. In the last one year, Amaechi is said to have stashed away over one billion Naira to selected companies in Ghana, in a manner designed to beat the watchful eyes of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who are still investigating the State for money laundering.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jackson Ude told DAILY GUIDE that the Office of the Rivers State Governor has decided not to comment on the allegation with an excuse that that the office is already being investigated for other financial issues.
DAILY GUIDE could also not get the Governor to comment on the story as attempts to reach him proved futile and he did not reply several e-mails sent to him to request for an interview.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo