September 6, 2009
Former President Rawlings has at various forums during his visit to Norway strongly disabused the minds of his audience about a report in a Norwegian newspaper in 2007 that he and his wife took millions of dollars in bribe money from a cement company, Scancem.
The allegation published by a Norwegian newspaper, Dagens Naeringsliv has since been proved untrue, but the newspaper has brazenly declined to retract its allegations and apologise.
The former President said in a statement that he and his wife had lived a simple life throughout his time in government and beyond.
He challenged all who were keen on pursuing the matter further to investigate every aspect of his life and confirm whether he had stashed stolen wealth in offshore accounts.
“They can call on the CIA, Interpol, etc to investigate, they will find nothing. “When people have been punished for corrupt acts under my watch how can I turn around and practice the same vices,” the former President asked.
Former President Rawlings said unfortunately he did not have sufficient funds to hire an expensive international lawyer to pursue a libel case against Dagens Naeringsliv, which has wide circulation in Norway.
“If I had the money I will gladly pursue the newspaper to clear my name. We have recently completed a house at East Legon and those who care to know will realise that it took us years of difficulty to finish putting up that house. People make wild stories about having properties across the country and beyond. It is absurd,” former President Rawlings said.
“The false accusations made against me have been proven wrong once again but at what cost! I am a patriot and serve the greater interest of my people. Indeed throughout the sub region I have ensured over the years that Ghana has played and continues to play a pivotal role.
“I have received great hospitality since I have been here and I am saddened that this latest propagation of an untruth originated here in Norway. The incident allowed members and people associated with former President Kufour to malign my family and me. To print and utter publicly, words that impugned on my credibility and integrity and all but challenged my perpetual chant of accountability, probity and freedom and justice for all!
“Ladies and gentlemen some of us were born to serve. I believe that as a patriot my job is to serve all especially the under privileged. It is for this reason that we have made personal sacrifices. We have endured the investigations into foreign bank accounts, jewellery shops and assets, which did not exist. Once again we have been exonerated with time but at what cost!
“People of Norway you have a rich history. Your humanity and sense of nationalism is great and respected. Your contributions as a percentage of GDP to the third world is legendary but I ask you to join me in speaking out against self interest and international populism so as to ensure that your contributions to third world need are fully appreciated. That which is wrong cannot become right simply by growing in strength.”
Visit Former President Rawlings’ blog site - http://jjrawlings.wordpress.com/