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MASLOC funds can't just be given out to buy votes – CEO

Stephen Amoah CEO MASLOC CEO of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, Stephen Amoah

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 Source: classfmonline.com

The CEO of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Mr Stephen Amoah, has said funds of the Centre cannot, willy-nilly, be given out to buy votes as claimed by Corruption Watch in a recent exposé.

The anti-graft body accused Mr Amoah’s deputy, Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakaria, of exploiting MASLOC funds to push her parliamentary ambitions in the governing New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary primaries in Yendi, Northern Region.

Reacting to the issue, however, Mr Amoah told Class91.3FM's Executive Breakfast Show host Benjamin Akakpo that: “MASLOC money? How can you take MASLOC money and go and give it to anybody just like that?”

“Anyway, I can’t speak so much to this issue; I don’t know what they know that I don’t know but what I know is that MASLOC funds cannot just be taken to be given to an entity just to vote for you. People don’t know. They cannot”, he said.

According to him, the same allegation levelled against his deputy was almost thrown at him, too.

“Even at first, they wanted to include me and they realised that even those who are quite close to NPP, who also benefitted from MASLOC funds in my constituency; the microloan, the group loan we’re talking about, was in 2018”, he noted.

“First, they included me; they were going around speaking on lies and floating a whole lot of pictures on social media, that’s their own issue anyway. And, now, they’ve moved to my deputy and they’ve said that: ‘Oh, prior to the elections, we did investment in Yendi’. My brother, let me ask you: ‘Is there any part of our Constitution that defines the time segment in which MASLOC can disburse money?’ Or, those in Yendi, are they not Ghanaians?” he asked.

Mr Amoah said microloans and group loans were given to a lot of people in a lot of places across the country and not only in Yendi.

Background

A Corruption Watch investigation found that the deputy MASLOC CEO facilitated the use of MASLOC money to allegedly induce delegates in the Yendi Constituency during the NPP’s recent primaries.

The investigation uncovered that she used state resources for her personal gain, just as other candidates were also captured by Corruption Watch inducing delegates with money, machinery and appliances in seven regions.

In the Yendi Constituency, Corruption Watch said the aspirants even gave out food packages including a bowl of dried fish, a box of Maggi and a pack of powdered salt.

The anti-graft body said on Thursday, 21 May 2020, Hajia Zakaria distributed GHS1,000 state money under the MASLOC loans to delegates of the constituency, in which she was contesting as a parliamentary aspirant.

In an address to delegates, which was captured on video by undercover investigators of Corruption Watch, she said although MASLOC loans weren’t to be distributed yet to Ghanaians, she ensured that as deputy CEO of MASLOC, loans to her constituents weren’t only distributed to them but also that the number of recipients was increased above what was permitted.

DEPUTY MASLOC CEO ADDRESSES GATHERING

Between the 12th and 14th of June, Corruption Watch said she also gave three bags of NPK fertilisers to each delegate in the Yendi Constituency.

When Corruption Watch contacted her for her response, she admitted to the findings but insisted that she did not err in her decision to give state money to induce delegates because the delegates applied for the loan like every other group.

DEPUTY MASLOC CEO’S INTERVIEW WITH CW

The Deputy MASLOC CEO contested the primaries against Alhaji Umar Farouk Aliu Mahama, deputy procurement officer at COCOBOD and son of the late Vice-President Aliu Mahama; and Alhaji Osman Baba Daney, a former Accountant at the Northern Regional Coordinating Council.

According to Corruption Watch, the Yendi contest can arguably be one of the contests in the country where the aspirants spent a lot of resources on the delegates.

It said each of them employed different tactics/strategy to entice the delegates individually or as groups.

Accounts of some of the activities that the aspirants engaged in border largely on potential bribery of the delegates for their votes, the anti-corruption body said.

These are some of the highlights of the activities the various aspirants engaged in to attract the delegates:

On 13th May 2020, Alhaji Umar Farouk Aliu Mahama, distributed one thousand bags of sugar to the delegates and opinion leaders in the Yendi Constituency; this has been an annual ritual by him since 2017.

On 20th May 2020, Mr Aliu Mahama gave about 800 bags of rice to the NPP delegates and opinion leaders in the constituency for the celebration of the Eid-Ul-Fitr. This, he has been doing since 2017.

On 13th June 2020, Mr Mahama distributed 400 knapsacks, 2,400 bottles of weedicides, 600 cutlasses, 400 bottles of anti-snake sprays and 800 bags of fertilisers to delegates in the Yendi Constituency.

When Corruption Watch contacted him for his response, Mr Aliu Mahama said he was not feeling well so he would speak on a different occasion. As of the time of filing this report, CW had not received his response.

Alhaji Osman Baba Daney, on Monday 15th June 2020, through his wife, presented a parcel of food ingredients to each delegate in the Yendi Constituency. The content of the parcel included a bowl of dried fish, a box of Maggi and a pack of powdered salt.

Each delegate was also offered a cash amount of GH¢100.

On Thursday, 18 June 2020, Mr Daney distributed GH¢200 to each delegate ‘to help them farm”.

When Corruption Watch contacted Mr Daney, he confirmed CW’s findings but argued that the content of the envelope he gave delegates was GH¢80 and not GH¢200. He also denied knowledge of the initial GH¢100.

Source: classfmonline.com
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