The National House of Chiefs has waded into the controversy surrounding the acquisition of 275 mini buses for 275 constituencies by the newly elected Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay.
The President of the House, Togbe Afede, who is also the President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, said the move by Freddie Blay deepens the corruption perception.
Togbe Afede further urged chiefs to help address the worsening perception and incidence of corruption in the country.
“Let me say that the frequency of corruption at elections is worrying; because that sequence itself suggests the lack of trust and lack of transparency…. And I think that we all have to work hard to minimize the frequency of perceptions of corruption and corruption. Nananom [Chiefs] should lead the fight and should talk for transparency,” he said.
While expressing regret over the silence of traditional leaders over the National Democratic Congress’ controversial $20 million headquarters in Accra, he lauded the Special Prosecutor for launching an investigation into Freddie Blay’s controversial 275 buses.
“Sometime ago, it was one party building a multi-million dollar headquarters, we all sat down and did not complain. And recently, an aspiring chairman of a party buying several 275 vehicles. These are matters that should attract Nananom’s attention. And I’m very happy that at least the latest one has attracted the attention of the special prosecutor. Unfortunately, the canker has spread so deeply.”
Freddie Blay has been in the news for personally procuring 275 buses for all NPP constituency offices across the country, ahead of the party’s national delegate’s congress on Saturday, where he is contesting to become the substantive Chairman.
According to reports, Mr. Blay, as a guarantor, paid 3 million dollars which constitute 30% of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars and has taken delivery of the first 100 mini-buses.
The issue has generated public outcry with opposition political parties and civil society organizations describing it as vote buying.
Mr. Blay’s office has explained that he contracted a loan to purchase the cars and that the constituencies will pay for the buses over a period of two years.
A source at the office of the special prosecutor later noted that the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu had started investigating Freddie Blay over the matter.
It said the office will go ahead with the investigations whether or not Mr. Blay won the election at the NPP’s conference.
The source further said Mr. Martin Amidu was of the view that, Mr. Blay is a public officer as a Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and also as a national officer of the governing party with influence, he falls under the Criminal offenses Act (1960) Act 29, and must therefore be questioned on his source of funding.