AKUFO-ADDO, BAAKO, PRATT CAUGHT?
source: The controversy surrounding the Scancem bribery saga surrounding former President Rawlings, his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and erstwhile PNDC presidential capo, Mr P. V. Obeng, refuses to go away, with one of the diggers of the story, Mr Kwaku Baako Jnr, Managing Editor of the Crusading Guide, up in arms over claims that he and other colleagues in the alliance that organised the infamous "kume preko" demonstrations were beneficiaries of Scancem bribe monies as well.
Anybody with a sense of history would not try to link the Alliance For Change (AFC) and President Kufuor to the matter, he told this paper in an interview yesterday.
According to him, the most important question anybody who wants to give a new twist to the Scancem matter must ask is when the company did become dominant in the country.
He said it is a total falsehood that Scancem financed the "Kume Preko" and "Sieme Preko" demonstrations of the Alliance For Change (AFC) in 1995 and that anybody who tries to link the two, is only being mischievous, ignorant or has no sense of history.
Mr Baako was reacting to media reports on Monday that sought to suggest that President Kufuor, then candidate Kufuor in opposition, took the largest chunk of the Scancem bribe, with officials of the AFC also having benefitted from the bribery largesse.
Citing an unnamed source, the Enquirer newspaper said because of the difficulties Scancem was facing in convincing the NDC leadership at the time to ensure that they remain the sole manufacturers of cement in Ghana, they chose to give all the support necessary to leaders of the largest opposition party at the time.
The Alliance For Change, which was fingered by the Enquirer newspaper in its report, was led by nine key individuals, including Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, Dr Charles Wereko Brtobbey, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, Kwaku Baako Jnr., Charles Biney, Kakraba Cromwell, and Victor Newman..
"As a former member of the AFC I can say with authority that the story is absolutely falsehood", Baako stated, saying that there can't be any truth in the impression the story sought to create that Scancem decided to finance the AFC and the opposition parties to have dominance in the cement industry.
He noted that the AFC demonstrations were conducted against the Value Added Tax (VAT) and socio-economic conditions in the country in 1995.
Again, he said Scancem could also not have sponsored the opposition because the NDC government had begun the process of allowing Diamond Cement to be established in Ghana.
According to Mr Kwaku Baako Jnr, Diamond Cement had not surfaced anywhere at the time of the demo and the records indicate that it was in July-August 1998 that Diamond Cement surfaced and even then, they (Diamond) commenced business in April 2000.
Therefore, Mr Baako maintained that if somebody wants to link these together, then either the person did not do his homework well, checked with any of the AFC members or has lost a sense of history.
"AFC was not obliged by law in Ghana to disclose its sources of finance like political parties are obliged to do under the electoral laws of the country and again we were not competing for political power, so it doesn't make sense for Scancem to have used us to attain their objective", he pointed out.
He said this is an orchestration of people to muddy the waters and create the impression that "we are all guilty", saying that it is ridiculous for such a thing to be coming from people of integrity.
The news report also said that during the Presidential and Parliamentary elections of 1996, 2000, and the 2004, the Norwegians, through a high ranking member of the current government, who was more or less the link between the President and Scancem, sent huge financial assistance to the then candidate Kufuor to fight their electoral battles.
The report further alleged that SCANCEM played very important roles, in terms of financial support for the numerous demonstrations that rocked the country's regional capitals, including the Kume Preko and Sieme Preko demonstrations before the elections of 2000.
But Baako would not have any of this. He wanted to know from the perpetrators of this falsehood which people were said in the story to have received and did not receive bribe and in what category.
He contended that the Scancem bribery scheme in the Norwegian Court took place between 1993 and 1998 and that it was the opposition National Democratic Congress Party that was in government then. They benefitted from it, he said.
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