The Professor Kwesi Botchwey Committee report has recommended investigations into circumstances that led to the pocketing of campaign funds by the current opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Eastern Regional Chairman, Bismark Tawiah Boateng.
The committee, which investigated why the NDC lost miserably to then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) on December 7, 2016, posits that Mr Tawiah Boateng has pocketed GH¢1 million that was meant for the campaign, and should therefore be investigated.
“Eastern Regional Chairman is alleged to be keeping some GH¢1 million meant for campaign funding,” the 65-page Executive Summary of the 455-page report – which the NDC has kept like a state secret – reveals on Page 28.
“Accusations of diversion of campaign funds must be probed,” it recommended, adding, “There was so much greed.”
Mr Tawiah Boateng was the NDC chairman, who supervised the party’s so-called ‘Agenda 50-50’ votes in the Eastern Region, which is the home region of then opposition leader and now President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The Agenda 50-50 was a plan that was meant to share equally between the NDC and the NPP the total number of valid votes to be cast in the region during last year’s polls – whether by fair or foul means.
However, the NDC was floored in the region beyond redemption.
As a result, the NDC prosecuted its campaign in the region – which is a stronghold of the NPP – on tribalism, personality attacks, particularly on Nana Akufo-Addo, and name-calling.
In the end, the party performed abysmally, losing the presidential election heavily and also losing a significant number of seats in parliament.
Then incumbent President Mahama managed overall 36.6% as against Nana Akufo-Addo’s 62.4% – which contributed in making Mr Mahama a one-term president.
Interestingly, President Mahama – contesting for the first time following the passing away of his boss, John Evans Atta Mills – had recorded 42.0% in 2012 while Candidate Nana Akufo-Addo managed 56.9% in the same region.
The NDC could also manage only six (Afram Plains North, Afram Plains South, Asuogyaman, Lower Manya, Upper West Akim and Yilo Krobo) out of 33 seats in the region, although they had extra one seat in 2012 when the presidential votes were controversially declared for Mr. Mahama by the then Electoral Commission chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan.
That occasioned an eight-month long legal battle at the Supreme Court.
Foot Soldiers on Rampage
In the course of Professor Botchwey 13-member committee’s work on March 17, 2017, there were violence scenes at Koforidua when it visited the regional capital to collate views of the party’s members.
The party’s foot soldiers wanted to prevent the regional executives from taking part in the meeting because they accused them of pocketing campaign funds that thwarted efforts to achieve the ‘Agenda 50-50.’
In July this year, Mr Tawiah Boateng was on radio advocating for the prosecution of former Minister of Transport, Dzifa Aku Attivor, by the new NPP government for her involvement in the infamous Smartty’s bus branding scandal.
The NDC regional chairman had said on Okay FM in Accra that “some of these things contributed to the party’s (NDC’s) defeat but nobody paid attention to it.
“The Nana Addo government should not tell us that because of witch-hunting they will let her go scot free. No! She should be invited by the NPP government and explain to Ghanaians issues about the bus branding.”
However, when he came under pressure from Dzifa Attivor’s camp, Tawiah Boateng issued a news release saying the media had ‘misreported’ and ‘doctored’ what he said on radio.
“For the record, I Bismark Tawiah Boateng, have NOT made any such statement anywhere. Obviously, the news publication has been mischievously twisted just to create a wedge between the former Transport Minister under President John Dramani Mahama and my good self,” he denied in a rejoinder.
He added, “Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP made a lot of noise while in opposition that they will jail NDC stalwarts and appointees when they assume power for alleged corrupt acts. Indeed, names like Alfred Woyome and Dzifa Attivor were always on the lips of NPP communicators and party functionaries during the 2016 electioneering campaign. I therefore dared the NPP government under Nana Akufo-Addo to carry out with that empty threat since I am very sure it will prove futile.”