A bankroller of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ken Ofori-Atta, has taken over the responsibility of repaying a two-million Ghana Cedi loan facility the party obtained from the Prudential Bank to finance its 2012 general electioneering campaign.
In a statement issued yesterday, Mr. Ofori-Atta who is also a former Chief Executive Officer of Data Bank, said the loan was a private business transaction obtained by him and not a debt for the NPP to deal with, even though it was the final beneficiary.
“I am personally liable for any obligation that arises from this transaction and not in any way the NPP,” Mr. Ofori-Atta, who headed the NPP’s 2012 Presidential Campaign Finance Team noted.
Prudential Bank on Tuesday, April 21, this year, wrote a demand notice to Mr. Ofori-Atta and Mr. Keli Gadzekpo, drawing their attention to the repayment of the facility.
The notice was copied to the national chairman of the NPP, Paul Afoko, as well.
The notice among others read; “We refer to our letter dated January 2015 in which we requested you to arrange and pay off the overdraft facility of GH¢1.5 million granted the NPP on January 30, 2015.”
“Unfortunately, there has not been any response to our letter and the debt also remains outstanding.”
“The overdrawn balance on the party’s Election 2012 Fundraising Account as at April 20, 2015 stood at GH¢2,290,631.60.”
The notice added that: “We are therefore by this letter request you, as guarantors of the facility, to ensure that the overdrawn balance of GH¢2,290,631.36 together with interest hereon is paid off immediately but in any case not later than April 30, 2015.”
“It said: “Please take note that if you fail to comply with the above directive, the Bank will have no other option than to initiate legal action against the party and the guarantors.”
Some leading members of the NPP were alarmed when the letter went viral this week, especially when the party was unable to raise the money to pay for the amount and interest accrued.
However, Mr. Ofori-Atta has appealed to NPP supporters to calm down since the party would after all not pay the debt.
“I urge the supporters of the NPP and the entire public to disregard the mischief that the leakage of this letter and those behind it seek to create.”
According to him, the facility was taken to complement the resources the party raised to support the operations of its polling station agents.
He added; “The party leadership at the time was fully aware of it and grateful. The disbursement of these funds was supervised by, and transfers executed by the campaign manager.”
When contacted, Jacob Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, the immediate past National Chairman of the NPP under whose tenure the loan was obtained, reacted angrily to questions posed to him.
“There are more serious things happening in this country, there is Bird Flu, there is “dumsor”, write about them and not NPP loans”.
When reminded that the NPP was a public entity and that the matters about its finances are of public interest, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey cut off the line and declined to response to further calls or return these calls.
The Communications Director of the party, Nana Akomea declined comments, saying he had little knowledge about the transactions and its resultant matters.
He instead directed this paper to contact the General Secretary, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong for details.
Ironically, Nana Akomea was also the communications director of the NPP during the 2012 general elections.
However, a former General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie in an earlier interview with myjoyonline.com, said the current leadership should be responsible for the debt payment.
Mr. Afriyie explained that, it was not unusual for a presidential campaign team to contract loans because of its weak financial base.
He said it therefore behoved on the party to repay, once the electioneering campaign was over.
By Ian Motey