Joseph Cudjoe, a Deputy Minister for Energy who doubles as MP for Effia in the Western Region, has been named in a vote-buying scandal which occurred during the recent NPP parliamentary primaries.
The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in their Corruption Watch report have stated that the MP who won the primaries with 312 votes allegedly gave 1,500.00 Cedis each to about 300 delegates to influence their votes.
He also reportedly gave out a standing fan, a half piece of cloth (six yards) and a 32-inch flat-screen Hisense TV at his residence a week before the NPP Effia primaries, and on the eve and day of the election respectively.
He is also alleged to have paid 400.00 Cedis to each of the delegates in a meeting a day after the primary.
Joseph Cudjoe refused to respond to calls and messages by Corruption Watch.
Cudjoe’s opponent, Dr Adwoa Kwagyiriba, a lecturer at Takoradi Technical University (TTU), who obtained 105 votes, according to the report also gave GHC400.00 and a 32-inch TV to the delegates on the eve of the election.
When contacted by the Corruption Watch team, Dr Kwagyirba denied the allegations levelled against her.
She said that she was looking forward to winning elections, therefore, she couldn’t have given a section of the delegates some money leaving out others.
“I didn’t give money to any delegate. I’m not on this interview to deny anything I did but as far as I’m concerned, my whole campaign thing was such that I’m a poor teacher and as a poor teacher how am I going to raise GHC400.00…so I am not aware of giving anything like that,” she told Corruption Watch in a telephone interview.
Dr Kwagyirba, however, stated that she met with the delegates in their electoral areas under her constituency and gave them GHC50.00 each for their transportation.
She insisted that she could not have induced the delegates with GHC400.00 nor a 32-inch TV set.
“Even the 32-inch if they give me some I’ll take,” she stressed.
However, David Oscar Amoah, who was in-charge of Dr Kwagyirba’s campaign communications admitted that the aspirant gave over 200 delegates GHC400.00 and a 32-inch Nasco TV set each.
“…We targeted about 200-plus delegates because when she gets 215 votes she will go through…,” he told the Corruption Watch team.
Listen to Dr Kwagyirba and David Oscar Amoah’s interview with Corruption Watch.
Meanwhile, the story was not different at Kwesimintsim as the incumbent, Joseph Mensah, admitted giving about 200 delegates of the Kwesimintsim Constituency GHC1,000 each on the eve of the election at his Anaji Mount Zion residence.
In addition, Mr Mensah gave the female delegates a half piece of cloth (six yards), and two brand new singlets to each male delegate.
When contacted on phone, he explained that as an MP, giving the delegates money was not something he was interested in but he realized that it is the norm that has been practised over the years and he is not ready to change the status quo.
“Our body politic of today, people who are going to campaign with you, it means that if you win, they will campaign with you, so you need to give them some small inducement. That’s what I came to meet. If you don’t give them something, they won’t vote for you; even if they vote for you, they won’t work for you,” the MP said.
“It is true we had to save some money and give them some little thing to induce them to vote for you. It is normal in our politics now… I’m highly against it but that is the system we’re operating now. I’ve been in parliament for only a term and I witnessed when the NDC was going for the primaries. It has become the highest bidder gets the nod. I’ll not shy away from this.”
Joseph Mensah further stated that if any politician denies that vote-buying is going on, then it is not true.
When asked how much he gave, the MP stated he gave “a widow’s mite” adding that it is true he gave 200 delegates GHC1,000.00, six yards cloth to the female delegates, and two singlets to the male delegates.
Dr Prince Hamid Armah, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) is also alleged to have paid GHC1,500 each to about 200 delegates on the eve of the election at his Anaji residence.
Dr Armah, on the other hand, refused to respond to the calls and text messages requesting for his reaction from the Corruption Watch team.
Dr. Hamid Armah won the primaries with 222 out of the 389 valid votes cast whilst Joseph Mensah, the incumbent lost with 167 votes.
Listen to Hon. Joseph Mensah’s interview with Corruption Watch.