Former President Jerry John Rawlings says he used the $2 million gift from former Nigerian President General Sani Abacha for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
He said it was not channelled into consumption as some have claimed but rather into bolstering sectors of the economy that were weak.
In 1998 when the money came in, “I used it for nationalistic purposes [and] my comrades in those days knew about it,” he noted. The former President made this remark when he addressed a gathering at the 38th Anniversary of the June 4, 1979, uprising held in the Upper West Regional town of Wa Sunday.
The $2 million gift from General Abacha nearly cost Mr Rawlings his presidency when then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) had wanted to impeach. The NPP failed because it did not find enough evidence to carry through with its intention.
It was speculated that the former President received $5 million from one Gwarzo who delivered the money to him but he dismissed it.
In an interview with Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper in 2016, Mr Rawlings said he took only $2 million from the General’s personal assistant.
“When General Abubakar took over, I told him to watch out that the report in the papers about $5million was $2million and not $5million,” he asserted.
When the issue came up for discussion in 2016 following a petition by the leader of GCPP, Dr Henry Lartey for CHRAJ to carry out another investigation, Mr Rawlings blamed some people in the NDC for that.
Having founded the NDC, the former President believes some people in the then government had wanted to disgrace him by reviving the issue.
“About three days before his [Mr Lartey] drama, I got information that he was going to be financially rewarded for what he did and incidentally he was instigated not by people in the opposition,” he said in October 2016.
The 2017 June 4 anniversary provided Mr Rawlings with another opportunity to repeat his 2016 claim about the involvement of some senior NDC members in the CHRAJ petition.
“The crazy man [was] urged by crazier ones within the Executive [past NDC government],” he said about the GCPP leader.