Rawlings opens can of worms

Ghana's former President Jerry Rawlings,Former president Jerry John Rawlings and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has disclosed that he dismissed former aide, Victor Smith, because he tried diverting funds donated by some Nigerians.

He claimed the cash was meant to eke out to the NDC’s campaign for late Professor John Evans Atta Mills, ahead of election 2008.

Ex-President Rawlings, speaking at the 38th anniversary of the June 4 Revolution in Wa in the Upper West Region on Sunday, accused his former confidante –Mr. Smith, a former Ghanaian High Commissioner, of trying to retrieve the cash without his  knowledge.

The NDC founder sacked Mr.Smith who also served as his special assistant and Director of Public Affairs via text message in 2008.

Circumstances leading to the dismissal were sketchy at the time, but Victor Smith in a media interview recently said he was relieved of the post because he supported former President John Dramani Mahama.

According to the  former president, some Nigerians had promised to support the NDC’s campaign and were ready to give the money to him for onward disbursement, but Mr. Smith stopped them from doing so.

“Some Nigerians invited us to the USA; I had left office to come and give a talk and commission some projects for them. We went, and then when we returned, two years later when Professor Mills was our flag-bearer, then these Nigerians decided to help.

So they were dealing with my office, Mr. Victor Smith. I subsequently heard about it because there was to-and-fro on this contribution issue until somebody finally called me that this is what is going on—they know me, they want to give me the money, and I can pass it on and not give it to Victor Smith. But Victor Smith is saying that he will take it to the Professor because I am not the one going to be the candidate….some kind of rubbish.”

Former president Rawlings said eventually the donors held back their money because of the confusion, adding that Victor Smith subsequently disseminated lies about him on radio over the issue.

The NDC founder said he was also shocked that the late Professor Mills, who was the NDC candidate at the time, who knew the truth but kept quiet for such “rubbish” to go on.

“Eventually, the contribution did not even come. I did not receive any contribution from them, through Mills, through Smith or directly or through the persons who came to see me also. And I do not believe Prof. Mills received any money from that place.

And yet when the time came to pour poison on me started, this secretary of mine was telling the world on radio stations that contributions were coming for a certain nationalistic duty and he had stopped it and diverted it to the flag-bearer. In other words, he had stopped it from coming to me. I was disgusted that this guy would make such a story. But you know the one who angered me the most, our Professor Mills who knew the truth, but kept quiet for this poison to burn me. As if I was fraudulent,” he added.




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