A UK-based Court has ruled against a former Ghanaian politician who is currently serving jail time for his involvement in a money-laundering scandal, ABC News can report.
The Ghanaian, Elias Preko, was jailed in 2013 for 4 and half years after the Court found him guilty of assisting a Nigerian Ex-Governor of moving millions of pounds, belonging to the taxpayer.
The Court, in its recent ruling, ordered Elias Preko to pay £7,324.268.41 following a confiscation hearing after his conviction or face a 10-year jail term.
James Ibori, the ex-Governor of Delta State in Nigeria, who lived lavishly on the money laundered for him, spent it buying houses in United States of America and South Africa, buying cars and owning properties across the world was jailed for 13 years in 2012.
The ex-Governor admitted diverting £160 million state funds and taxpayers money into personal accounts during his two-term stay, 8 years, as Governor.
Unlike the ex-Nigerian Governor, the Ghanaian Havard University graduate and former Goldman Sachs worker told the Court, he invested his money into politics in Ghana.
He explained that he wanted to expand his influence into the Ghanaian setting and one of the surest ways he was advised to walk, was to enter politics.
‘I spent money to attempt some acceptance because I had been out of the country for so long,’ he said.
‘Along the line, My Lord, I also got involved with fundraising for the party I have been affiliated with since 1996.’
Elias Preko, however, noted that he cannot quantify the amount he invested into politics because the economy at the time was largely cash-based and thus records of how much a financier doled out cash were difficult to trace.
‘If you go to the grassroots you have to spend money.
‘I gave money to women to build schools, provide scholarships, just to get my name out there.’
‘It helps if you spend money because the situation, the economy, is such that people are relatively poor so when you invite them to meetings and you can provide something they will come.”
Not only did he pump money to create a grassroots base in Ghana, but the Havard graduate also told the Court how he pushed some of the money he gained from the scheme with the ex-Nigerian Governor into financing other political parties.
His ability to organise funds, particularly, through fundraising activities to support the right-wing NPP in Ghana caught the eye of the opposing candidates who brought him offers, including making him a Vice Presidential candidate, in exchange for his support, Elias narrated to the Court in an earlier hearing, ABC News gathers.
‘I’ll make you Vice President, I’ll make you a minister,’ Preko recounted of how a highly influential figure in one of the other political parties that has ruled the country for several years promised.
‘It is unfortunate but that is the reality of the ground. I also had to spend money supporting other people running for office.
‘There is a different concept of work there, the difference being everything is cash.
‘Most of the time, people who donate money they donate it to two or more parties and hedge their bets,” Preko told the courts.