The National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Freddie Blay, has described as incompetent the contempt suit brought against him by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
Mr. Blay who appeared before the court on Tuesday said he has not in any way or manner disrespected CHRAJ or failed to appear before the commission as being claimed.
He further added in his response to the contempt suit that neither he nor his office has received any summons from CHRAJ hence cannot be held in contempt for not appearing before the commission.
CHRAJ filed a motion to commit Freddie Blay for contempt at the High Court after the Commission claimed the NPP chair failed to respond to several requests from the Commission to provide it with information about the 275 buses he donated to his party’s constituencies ahead of the NPP delegates conference in 2018.
As part of its case, CHRAJ attached document showing that Mr. Blay had received the motion but failed, refused and or neglected to oblige the commission with his comments as requested.
“They’ve [CHRAJ] not made efforts to come and find me. Believe me or not, I made efforts [to contract CHRAJ] because I’ve heard this news all over. I wrote a letter to the registry but they did not mind me. I have copies of the letter and based on that we’ve filed our response. I’m in this country, how can I hide? I have an office and a house so if anybody said they can’t find me I don’t know what they are talking about. We have filed our response.”
“I have done nothing wrong. I’m not a fugitive from justice. If they want to talk about buses they should talk to me. We made it public that we facilitated our party people so that they will have access to buses so they will have a little money to fund the party. That’s what we said all over but if they have a problem with it they can come and talk to me. But if they say by that very act, Freddie Blay is corrupt then it’s unfortunate,” Freddie Blay told Citi News after the court case on Tuesday.
The claims first emerged in July 2018 when Mr. Blay was accused of vote-buying after he took delivery of 100 out of the 275 buses he procured for the constituency offices days to the party’s delegates conference where he was contesting to be the party chairman.
Blay said he facilitated the purchase of the minibuses with the backing of the party, and reportedly made a down payment of $3 million, which constitutes 30% of the total cost of 11.4 million dollars for the 275 cars.
He is said to have contracted a loan facility from Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) to procure the 275 buses.
Mr. Blay, after winning the elections, explained that the NPP was only putting in place measures to strengthen its campaigns.
He discounted claims that the procurement of the cars gave him an undue advantage in the elections.
The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, also took an interest in the case.
Mr. Blay is a public officer as a Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and is also national officer of the governing party with influence, the Special Prosecutor office noted.
The office argued that he fell under the Criminal offences Act (1960) Act 29, and needed to be questioned on his source of funding.