General News of Sunday, 25 March 2018
Former President of the Republic of Ghana John Rawlings and his former aide Ambassador Victor Smith do not see eye-to-eye. In fact, they have ‘exchanged words’ more times than one can count by hand.
Former President J. J. Rawlings, who was first to give his side of the story accused Victor Smith who was once his Special Aide, of trying to retrieve cash without his knowledge when he was working with him.
In an event covered by MYNEWSGH.com last year on June 4th in the Upper West Region, the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) revealed he dismissed the former Ambassador to the United Kingdom for diverting campaign funds for sinister purposes. He said he parted ways with Mr Smith because he tried diverting funds some Nigerians had promised to pump into the party’s campaign for late Professor John Evans Atta Mills ahead of election 2008.
But Mr Victor Smith has refuted Rawlings’ version of events denying he diverted any money for which he was to be whipped in line.
Speaking to GhanaWeb’s Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on 21 Minutes with KKB, the former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom narrated his side of the story.
He said Mr Rawlings didn’t simply understand the issues. He said what actually happened was that he Victor Smith was leading the fundraising efforts to reach then candidate Atta Mills directly but for whatever the reason the lady wanted to deal with former President Rawlings.
He said they (the former President, his wife and him Victor Smith) had a program at Las Vegas in the United States around the 2008 campaign period, where they met a Nigerian lady who promised with whom he exchanged contacts. He couldn’t recall the lady’s name.
After the event, they all came back to Ghana and he (VS) decided to get in touch with the lady “on his own initiative” to serve as a conduit to facilitate a meeting with prominent Nigerians who could help fund the Atta Mills campaign in 2008.
He said he wanted the lady to “put him before some deep pockets in Nigeria whether they could help in our campaign.”
He also revealed that he was the one who introduced the said lady to Rawlings and his wife.
He said the lady was not interested in candidate Mills at all, she insisted on meeting Rawlings, but he pointed out to her that Mills was the candidate and “Rawlings is not the one running and she got it all mixed up.
He also added thatafter he asked the Nigerian lady if she could raise funds for the campaign team, she agreed but had a condition- he Victor Smith had to wire her $10,000 for some “ground work” expenses which he refused, accusing the lady of “419”.
“I said this is 419, and I told the lady. And so she got offended”.
By calling her a fraud, she got in touch with Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings whose number she got back in Las Vegas, to paint a false picture of him to the Rawlings.
“So she called them, and on my blind side, they brought her to Ghana and she came to paint a very bad picture of me for insisting that the flagbearer was the right person to see whoever was going to assist us”, he told KKB.
Asked by the host if then candidate Atta Mills was aware of the issue, he said: “Mills got to know about it much later” revealing that Mills rebuked him about the inappropriateness of foreign pockets sponsoring the National Democratic Congress and that as a law professor he knew better than to engage in an illegality.
He said following the lady’s visit, he was denied access to the office when he turned up for work with security warning him that some woman came to say things.
Mr Smith said there was no money to even divert in the first place, since the money didn’t eventually come.
Fired via SMS
It would be recalled that on April 9, 2008, Flt Lt. Rawlings sent a text message to Mr Smith, then his official Spokesperson, directing him to write a letter to fire himself and copy the media.
The two men have not been on good terms since, owing to this issue and it does not appear as if both of them would make up anytime soon as they have been avoiding each other, especially in public places and each going public to explain his side.