Typical of election years in Ghana, the last few days in the run-up to the 2020 elections is throwing up alleged secret recordings of persons in office, purportedly using their positions to perpetrate fraud and corrupt acts.
The latest to suffer from such an allegation is President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Two video clips with the same setting and scenery but with different narrations are currently in circulation, stoking a conversation about whether or not President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has gone against his pledge to not condone any act of corruption.
One of the files which sought to suggest Akufo-Addo’s incorruptible tag was a mere gimmick forms part of a forty-minute supposed investigative piece by the Salis Newspaper that uncovers how the President was influenced with an amount of $40,000 concealed in a brown envelope to ignore corruption and NDC affiliation claims against Director of the Department of Urban Roads, Alhaji Abass Awolu.
In the said video, Alhaji Abass, according to the narrator, sent a delegation to the President in his private residence in Nima. “They were led to the president by Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Adjei Bawuah. In his company were a woman and a man who were introduced as wife and brother of the Director of Urban Roads.”
A voice purported to be the man introduced as the brother of Alhaji Abass is heard pleading with the President to pay deaf ears to some allegations against Alhaji Abass, stressing it is a plot by detractors who are bent on tarnishing his image and eventually seeing him kicked out of office.
Akufo-Addo after the supposed plea for clemency is seen receiving a hefty brown envelope from Ambassador Bawuah which according to the narrator contained $40,000 being presented on behalf of Alhaji Abass. While at it, the voice of the man purported to be the brother of Alhaji Abass is heard stating that the package is from Alhaji Abass who has been advised by some people to take that action or risk removal from office.
“He has been advised by some people to come and see you with money. He says he doesn’t have much except this $40,000. He is pleading with you not to remove him from office. He also assures never to disappoint you if he is maintained.”
A second video, however, suggests otherwise. Although the scene and personalities are same as Salis Newspaper’s, the conversation is entirely different; it’s a donation and not a bribe. The unseen man, who the newspaper in its report claims is the brother of Alhaji Abass, is rather heard discussing how they could assist in the electioneering campaign.
The footage suggests that the three personalities [Ambassador Bawuah, a lady and a man whose face is not captured] had been to Akufo-Addo’s home to offer resources in order to grease the wheels of his campaign.
“Please accept this 40,000 in addition to the t-shirts for now. Later, we will communicate to you how else we can contribute to this,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that in both videos, Akufo-Addo after receiving the envelope requested for a name. He said, “I need to have a name” to which the lady replied, “Hajia Fawzia”. It is unclear what Akufo-Addo needed the name for.
Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has asked the general public to disregard the bribery allegation levelled against the President, stressing it is false information being propagated by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). While noting that the government has braced itself for more fabricated and concocted information with a few days to the elections, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the encounter captured on tape was at a time Akufo-Addo was not president.
“We are expecting a number of fake news items this week. One of them is a 2016 campaign donation someone made to then-candidate Akufo-Addo. They’ve created a fake newspaper to spread false information. It’s a clear desperate attempt in this last week of a failed campaign to put out concocted stories as they did in 2008.
“This week, there will be loads of these stories but I will urge everyone to be vigilant particularly our colleague journalists. When you see something circulating, you don’t just publish it, you subject it to review,” he said on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo program.
The government appointee also named some bigwigs in the NDC whom he considers to be behind the ‘fake stories’ that characterized the 2008 elections.
He said: “We believe it is the NDC who are behind it. I have mentioned Fiifi Kwetey’s name and everyone knows him to be an NDC MP. Everyone knows Victor Smith. The Honourable Inusah Fuseini. The one which came out this week is being circulated on the NDC platforms.”
Akufo-Addo’s bribe video malicious propaganda – Manasseh Azure
Investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has also cast doubt on the video. In a social media post, he expounded that the allegations are frivolous.
“His [Akufo-Addo] rights were violated by whoever filmed him without his consent. He was not engaged in any criminal or illegal act so you cannot justify this in any court of law. The video being shared shows that someone contributed money and T-shirts to support his campaign, but you’re telling us that he took a bribe as a president. (If you want to raise issues with political party funding, we can discuss that. And it’s not limited to only one party),” Manasseh opined.