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Ofori Atta’s Ouster: OSP Confirms Wealthy Businessman Attempted to Bribe Majority MPs, But Can’t Probe Further

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has established as true, allegations that an unnamed wealthy businessman had tried to bribe some Majority Members of Parliament in October 2022, during a controversial moment in which there were calls for the removal of Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. But the Special Prosecutor says he cannot bring any criminal action against the said individual due to non-cooperation from his accusers.

In a 7-page report released today, January 3, the OSP said during its investigation, it uncovered that the wealthy businessman, whose name was neither disclosed in the report, had in fact tried to bribe the MPs but that “monetary offer was rejected by the contacted Members of Parliament.”

“Mr. XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXX prevaricated on whether he attended Parliament House circa 1 October 2022. He denied ever meeting a section of Members of Parliament and offering them money to abort their demand for the resignation or removal of Mr. Ofori-Atta. However, it was established that he frequently attends Parliament House,” the report said.

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The probe stemmed from a petition by pressure group, OccupyGhana, following allegations made by two MPs from the government side that the said businessman attempted to buy MPs out of a decision to boycott government business should Ofori Atta remain in office.

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The Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and MP for Asante-Akyem North, Andy Appiah-Kubi were the two MPs who made the allegations in a JOY FM interview.

But the Special Prosecutor says, Mr. Appiah-Kubi, whom it described as “the accuser and a vital key to resolving the case” had refused to cooperate with its investigations. The Office further said the lack of cooperation had affected its ability to bring criminal charges against the said businessman despite having the power to subpoena Appiah-Kubi to testify.

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“Mr. Appiah-Kubi showed open hostility to the authorised officers of the OSP and he was unyielding in his resolve not to cooperate with the investigation. The circumstances of the case are such that the cooperation and testimony of the accuser of the well-known wealthy businessman are essential to a successful prosecution. That is to say, in the context of this case, the gathered intelligence of the OSP and its investigation of the activities of its identified suspect, Mr. XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXX, are not sufficient to sustain criminal charges,” the report added.

Calls for Ofori-Atta’s Resignation

Ofori-Atta faced a difficult year in 2022, as it seemed there was consensus for his resignation as Finance Minister. This was so because the country was facing one of its harshest economic crises –  with inflation shooting to as high as 40% in October alongside hikes in transport fares, and general prices of goods and services.

About 98 out of the 139 MPs from the Majority side had initially called for his resignation, using hashtags like #KenMustGo, and saying that Mr. Ofori-Atta’s continual stay in office could potentially breed “doom” for the country’s economic situation. However, that action by those MPs was suspended after an intervention by party people.

Consequently, a vote of censure by NDC MPs to remove  Ofori-Atta failed as the NPP side backed out during voting time.

At the time the allegations of bribery surfaced, Parliament also announced an investigation into the issue. However, much has not been heard on the status of that probe.

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