Jerry John Rawlings, Former Ghanaian President has admitted receiving money from former Nigerian President Sani Abacha, but denied claims it was $5 million.
Mr. Rawlings, Speaking to the Guardian Newspaper, who allegedly received the money in 1998, said it was $2 million and not $5 million as alleged
Jerry Rawlings had been rebuked by the opposition New Patriotic Party.
The confession by the former president comes at a time when some opposition parties are demanding investigations into the $100,000 Ford gift given to President John Dramani Mahama by a Burkinabe contractor.
In 1998 when the matter of the alleged bribe money from Nigeria arose, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) founded by Jerry Rawlings put up a strong defence for him when the matter was brought to the floor of Parliament for investigations to be conducted into the matter by the then Speaker of Parliament, D.F Annan.
When the minority led the campaign, their motion was shut down because the Speaker had ruled at the time that the minority did not bring enough evidence to support their call for investigations.
Speaking on his anti-corruption and alleged $5million ‘gift’ from Abacha, Mr. Rawlings said: “When General Abubakar took over, I told him to watch out. That that report in the papers about $5million was $2million and not $5million. He didn’t make any comment. He didn’t say anything. Obasanjo took over I thought I should straighten it out with him. The comment he made was: ‘Yes, that is how they behave. When they are given something to take somewhere, they will take the majority, the bigger share.’ That was the comment Obasanjo made,” he said.
“I wasn’t used to those things. Otherwise, I could have called Abacha. I don’t even think I even called him over that. Maybe I should have called him to say thank you for the $2million and then he would have called his people to order. You see what I mean? I wasn’t used to money being thrown up and down. Money was not my thing. Yes, we were poor enough as a country, but we were working day and night to making sure we put the country on a solid foundation for economic explosion. We had our pride and our dignity was not out for sale”
“I recall that in the early days I didn’t have any money in the account and somebody gave me a million dollar cheque. I just threw it on the workshop table. Eight years later, one of our comrades reminded me about the cheque and said we would need the money for something and I asked him to go look for it.”
“The mischief that our people get involved in hurt me. When I was a kid my grandmother used to say: ‘A liar is more dangerous than a thief’, and we could never understand it. It didn’t make sense to us, because as kids we were always denying something or telling fibs about something, and nobody gets hurt or anything. But you get whipped for stealing and more. When you grow up to my situation today then you wake up to what my Granny was saying, how liars are the most vicious and cowardly creatures. They can destroy a whole image and reputation.”
“That was why Chinua Achebe’s counterpart, Ayi Kwei Armah, wrote ‘The Beautiful Ones are Not Yet Born’. When I grew up, I realized he was wrong. The beautiful ones are born. They are there, but the platform is so dirty they dare not step on it to campaign to be leaders, because they would be slammed down with some of the nastiest fabrications. Nobody wants to have their name spoilt, so politics becomes a monopoly. No wonder he said the beautiful ones were not yet born.”
“But no, when I got in, I said no way. I brought the beautiful ones all on board when I came back the second time. That was how come we succeeded so beautifully. We provided a leadership of credibility and integrity. These are the hallmarks I stand for,” he added.