Calls for criminal investigations into Blay bus saga justified – Tsikata

Calls for criminal investigations into Blay bus saga justified - Tsikata

A former CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has added his voice to calls for a probe into allegations of vote buying levelled against the Corporation’s current board chair.

Tsatsu Tsikata said a criminal probe of Freddie Blay who is also the National Chairman of government New Patriotic Party (NPP) will lay the matter to rest.

“It does not help to do it [buy buses for 275 constituencies] at the time he did — before a primary or election — because of the perception and that is a reality also,” he told Joy News’ Gifty Andoh Appiah on The Pulse Monday.

Related: Forensic audit of accounts needless; our hands are clean- GNPC

According to the astute lawyer, if there are calls to investigate Mr Blay’s finances by Civil Service Organisations (CSOs) as well as those who competed with him for the National Chairmanship position, it would be in order.

“They are serious matters of criminality…so those matters would have to be investigated in terms of normal criminal investigations.

“Vote buying involves using monetary inducement in connection with a forthcoming election. There was an election in view and he reportedly procured the buses for the constituencies for the same people who are involved in the election,” he said.

The Minority in Parliament is demanding an immediate forensic audit into the accounts and activities of Mr Blay for his show of “vulgar opulence” and “vote buying” towards the recent National Delegates Congress.

Freddy Blay, National Chairman of New Patriotic Party (NPP)

The former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament is reported to have funded the procurement of some 275 buses to be used for commercial activities to raise funds for the NPP constituencies nationwide.

However, GNPC responded quickly saying an audit into their accounts based on allegations the Corporation aided Mr Blay to procure the buses is unnecessary.

Its CEO, Dr K. K. Sarpong, said it did not in any way support or play any role in the purchase of the buses.

According to the Corporation, it has in place a robust financial system that will not allow any official to approve or receive funds to support a programme not set out in its Work Programme and Budget which is approved by Parliament.

But the former GNPC boss, Mr Tsikata is not impressed. He said it is time for the new NPP Chair to reflect.

Related: Minority in Parliament wants Freddie Blay’s ‘vulgar opulence’ investigated

“If I were him, I would have reflected on what impression has been created through my actions and if it could have been avoided,” he said.

He added that looking at it from that perspective, he is convinced Mr Blay would have recognized that he could have done it in a better way.    

Commenting on the removal of former Electoral Commission Chair, Charlotte Osei, Mr Tsikata said the government needs to convince citizens that the promotion of the appeals court judges on the CJ’s committee to the Supreme Court, was purely on merit. 

“People have raised concerns, not because of the judges they are not competent or qualified but even the appearance that they might be rewarded does not enhance the credibility of the appointment process. 

“I would hope that there would be a clear explanation that would satisfy Ghanaians that perhaps nothing untoward had happened in relation to that,” he said. 

The legal luminary also said if concerns raised about the identity of the petitioners is true, then the hearing of the petition itself is questionable.

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