A Ghanaian journalist who was at the forefront of reports in 1998 alleging that former President Jerry John Rawlings had received $5 million from late Nigerian President, Sani Abacha, has punched holes into Mr. Rawlings’ sudden confession that he only received $2 million.
Although former President Rawlings admitted in an interview with the Guardian Newspaper in Nigeria that he did receive money from the Nigerian leader, he stated that he only received $2 million dollars, instead of the $5 million alleged 18 years ago.
But the journalist, William Nyarko, who worked with The Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper at the time, said information he gathered then indicated that former president Rawlings may have received $5 million dollars.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, William Nyarko said Mr. Rawlings’ claim may not be entirely true.
According to Mr. Nyarko, in 1998 when the matter came up, he went to Nigeria to make contact with a source, one Guazo, the man alleged to have delivered the money to Rawlings.
He said Guazo was under house arrest at the time, and was being guarded by state security services in his village which was near Kano.
This Mr. Nyarko said was a problem for him in gaining access to him, but he said he “used all kinds of undercover tricks to get access to Guazo.”
According to Mr. Nyarko, he spoke to Guazo and “he [Guazo], insisted that he gave President Rawlings $5 million. It is interesting that the former President said he only received $2 million… We would still say that he alleged that he gave President Rawlings $5 million because you and I weren’t there,” he stated.
Mr. Rawlings while speaking to the Guardian Newspaper in Nigeria, admitted receiving the money from the President of Nigeria in 1998, but said it was $2 million and not $5 million as alleged.
The Minority in Parliament then criticized the alleged acceptance of the money, and called for a Parliamentary probe.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), founded by Jerry Rawlings, put up a strong defence for the former president when the matter was brought to the floor of Parliament for investigations to be conducted by the then Speaker of Parliament, D. F. Annan.
But the Minority-led the campaign was shot down because the Speaker had ruled at the time that the Minority did not bring enough evidence to support their call for investigations.
Rawlings should be forgiven
A former Member of Parliament for New Juabeng North, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, believes former President Rawlings’ admission he accepted $2 million from former Nigerian Head of State, Sani Abacha, should warrant forgiveness from Ghanaians.
Mr. Owusu-Agyeman, who was a Minority Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in 1998, led the calls for a parliamentary probe and he said “He has confessed it and I think we should be magnanimous enough to say let bygones be bygones but I think from here, we should learn lessons that the President should desist from taking gifts from persons or money and everything like that.”