General News of Friday, 18 December 2015
Former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Nana Ohene Ntow has denied claims by the party’s communications director that a committee chaired by him (Ohene Ntow) has cleared the party’s flagbearer of some £100,000 illegal payment.
Nana Akomea told the media on Friday that the Ohene Ntow-led Committee investigated claims that the money was paid to Nana Akufo-Addo for some engagements without authorization by the party.
But in a statement, Mr. Ohene Ntow said the substantive of the monies paid or otherwise to the former attorney general was not broached by his committee.
“I have to state further that the Committee did not investigate any allegation of a disbursement of any One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (£100,000) from a party account to the 2016 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The committee therefore could not have issued a clean report on a matter it did not investigate”.
Below are details of the statement
December 18, 2015
REACTION TO NANA AKOMEA’S STATEMENT ON THE REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE OF THE NPP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
My attention has been drawn to a statement issued by Nana Akomea, Director of communications of the New Patriotic Party, which statement comments on the Report by the Ad Hoc committee instituted by the Party’s National Executive Committee to look into the Financial Administration of the Party, Issues related to fees received for the 2015 Parliamentary Primaries and other Financial Matters. Ordinarily, since the statement by Nana Akomea is to all intents and purposes an official statement of the party, I should not respond to it. However, in view of the fact that the said statement by Mr. Nana Akomea sought to cast a slur on my person and on my integrity as a professional and also Chairman of the said Committee, I am compelled to state the facts of the matter.
1. In the first place, the committee did not investigate the establishment of a secret account as Nana Akomea’s statement seeks to portray. Since we did not investigate a secret account, we could not have exonerated anybody for setting up a secret account. The issue was about the unauthorized reactivation of an existing BUT DORMANT Account.
That was what was investigated, and the investigation did establish that the National Treasurer Mr. Abankwa Yeboah, and the 1st Vice National Chairman Mr. Freddie Blay illegally reactivated and operated this dormant account without authority from the Steering Committee, Finance Committee, nor indeed the National Executive Committee.
2. I have to state further that the Committee did not investigate any allegation of a disbursement of any One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (£100,000) from a party account to the 2016 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The committee therefore could not have issued a clean report on a matter it did not investigate.
3. The impression being created by Mr. Akomea’s statement that all disbursements from the Ecobank account were solely for the Talensi by-election is false.
The committee did not audit the disbursements from the Ecobank Account as both the National Treasurer and the National Organizer failed to provide the committee with any receipts on their expenditures on the Talensi By-Elections.
4. The impression being created by Akomea’s statement that the recommendations contained in my minority report fall outside the committee’s Terms of Reference is false.
5. The impression being created that the recommendations contained in my minority report are not supported by the evidence adduced before the committee, and that I possibly cooked up those recommendations out of a vacuum is also palpably false.
First of all, the committee’s Terms of Reference consisted of Nine items not Four, as Mr. Akomea’s statement claims. The Nine-Point TOR are as follows:
1. To establish the total amount collected as fees for the 2015 parliamentary primaries;
2. To establish the bank account(s) into which the fees were lodged;
3. To determine the disbursements out of those accounts and the purpose for those disbursements;
4. To establish the approvals of those disbursements;
5. To investigate the cause(s) of the impasse between the National Treasurer and the National Chairman/General Secretary;
6. To ascertain how the dormant Bank Account at the Trust Towers Branch, was reactivated, and how it was operated;
7. To investigate the circumstances under which the National Treasurer entered into a contract with Textgenesys Limited for the collection of Membership Dues and Monies that have accrued from the process;
8. To investigate any other matters which , in the opinion of the Committee, are relevant to its work;
9. To submit Recommendations to forestall any such occurrences in the future.
DISBURSEMENT FROM ECOBANK ACCOUNT
The committee did indeed establish that some of the disbursement from the Ecobank Account went into the Talensi by-elections. However, it was also established by the committee that a chunk of the money from the Ecobank Account were illegally used to purchase Treasury Bills as well as to establish a call Account, all without proper authorization.
In his evidence to the committee the National Treasurer, Mr. Abankwa Yeboah admitted that his decisions to reactivate the Ecobank Account, purchase a Treasury Bill and establish a call Account for the party were all unilateral and without appropriate authorization. Obviously, it is based on this and other evidence that came before the committee that the minority report submitted by my good self recommended disciplinary action and sanctions against the National Treasurer.
The committee established that the 1st National Vice National Chairman, Mr. Freddie Blay illegally authorized the disbursements from the Ecobank account, and also wrongly usurped the office of the National Chairman. It therefore stands to reason that my recommendation that Mr. Freddie Blay is sanctioned could not have been baseless as the Akomea statement seeks to imply.
A close look at the committee’s Terms of Reference shows clearly that Item 9 states and I quote:
“To submit Recommendations to forestall any such occurrences in the future”
With reference to the above-stated item on the committee’s TOR, I am at loss as to how any fair-minded person could suggest that it was beyond the committee’s remit to recommend anything, more so sanctions and disciplinary action where appropriate.
It is based on the evidence that came before the committee and on our findings that I proposed the following recommendations which the other four members of my committee raised objections to:
The work of the committee has revealed very deep seated acrimony, animosity and a major factional divide within the party. Unfortunately, this situation is being exploited by some party members and leaders to the detriment of party unity, cohesion and internal harmony. Matters have not been helped by an apparent lack of effective enforcement of discipline. In an effort to deal effectively with the party’s current situation, the following Recommendations are being proposed:
1. That Article 17 of the Party’s Constitution be operationalized and the Finance Committee be mandated to immediately draft Financial Regulations to supplement the provisions of the constitution on the party’s financial management.
NB: The Finance Committee representative who appeared before the committee told the committee that his committee had already drafted proposals for such Financial Rules and Regulations for the party, ready to present same to the National Executive Committee. We recommend that the necessary action must be expedited on the said proposals for implementation.
2. The National Council should arrange an introspection meeting of all National Officers at which all fears and suspicions would be laid bare and all grudges brought into the open for a no-holds-barred discussion. It is recommended that this meeting is facilitated by professional psychologists and counselors before the end of the year.
3. The National Chairman should ensure that henceforth the group decision making principle which underpins the party’s constitution is adhered to.
4. That the National Treasurer is referred to the National Discipline Committee for the appropriate sanctions for gross misconduct, indiscipline and for arrogating to himself powers that he is not constitutionally mandated to exercise, particularly with respect to his unilateral decision to reactivate a dormant account of the party and operate same, as well as for unilaterally entering into a so-called contract with Textgenesys and enforcing same against the decision of the party’s Finance Committee.
5. That the 1st Vice Chairman is referred to the National Disciplinary Committee for the appropriate sanctions for gross misconduct in view of his usurpation of the powers and functions of National Chairman even in situations that the National Chairman is available in the jurisdiction and is ready, willing and able to perform his functions as National Chairman.
6. That the National Treasurer is ordered by the Finance Committee to provide the it with documentary details of the revenue that has accrued to the party from the Textgenesys text fund raising activities to date.
7. That the National Treasurer who purchased a Treasury Bill and established a Call Account on behalf of the party without proper authorization, and the 1st Vice Chairman who improperly authorized the above transactions, are ordered by the National Executive Committee of the party to furnish it with the original copy of the Treasury Bill Certificate, as well as original documentary details of where the Call Account is held and the current status thereof.
8. That in view of the rather serious allegations made by Mr. Baah Achamfuor against the Immediate Past General Secretary, Mr. Owusu Afriyie and the Immediate Past National Treasurer, Mad. Esther Ofori of financial impropriety, the National Executive Committee institutes investigations into those allegations to establish the facts thereof.
9. That the former National Chairman, Mr. Peter McManu, is ordered by the National Executive Committee of party to explain in writing, the circumstances under which he opened or caused to be opened a party account at the Trust Towers Branch of the Ecobank and how it was run without the knowledge of the then General Secretary, the then National Treasurer nor indeed the Steering Committee.
I will just stop short of providing all the details of the evidence that was adduced before the committee, as well as all the findings. I believe that if we as a party do not want to wash our dirty linen in public, we should learn NOT to be the first to throw mud at the other person.