*Prez. Mills’ Ultimatum
*And Betty chose former option
Education Minister, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, resigned her portfolio Monday evening. She tendered in her resignation letter to President Mills, but officialdom was tight-lipped about the content of the letter.
Although the lady minister could not meet the president personally to hand over her resignation, the paper is informed that Betty gave her resignation letter to the Secretary to the President, Mr. Bebaako Mensah.
Reasons might be premised on speculations and for that matter remain sketchy, however Today has it on authority that Betty’s resignation is not based on her performance as the Minister of Education but directly connected to the payment of the controversial GH¢58million to National Democratic Congress financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
The president is on record to have said he was unaware of the payment of the whopping amount to Woyome, while our checks also show that the payment was done without approval by Parliament. If the demand from Woyome had gone to Parliament, members would have gone to inspect and approve of the work before approval of any payment.
But leaks from the paper’s sources show that the education minister was not ready to resign, but only acquiescing to pressures from the presidency to resign over her misjudgment in the infamous judgment debt tale. The president’s ultimatum to Betty, the paper gathered, almost became a mantra: “Resign or Get Sacked!”
And finally the lady minister had no option, than to bow to the presidential pressure and did the wish of the president by resigning honourably. The president first gave a hint of Betty’s woes when he sternly warned that he particularly does not have problems with Woyome, the beneficiary, but the people who approved the payment of the whopping amount to the NDC financier.
The hard-line stance of the president, many NDC faithful(s) interpreted, was a direct warning to the NPP which the president was misinformed, reneged on the payment of the amount due the NDC financier, but events that unfolded afterwards suggested that perhaps if there was any first call to clarity that would have been Betty Mould-Iddrisu.
This is because documents available and the vehement denial of the NPP that the previous administration had no contract with Woyome, made government recede and perhaps the only way to salvage its dented image is to offer Betty as the sacrificial lamb is the perfect fix in the jig-saw.
Betty further became a loner in the murky Woyome saga after her compatriot and successor, Martin Amidu, also insisted that government (both NPP and NDC administrations) has no contract with Alfred Agbesi Woyome. Perhaps Betty thought she had an explanation to offer on why she made that gargantuan mistake in her judgment.
Martin Amidu paid a huge prize for trying to be forthright in the Woyome case by applying strictly the laws, instead of playing to the political. He was steadfast in the face of what looked an organised persecution by his own party members, with government newspaper’s leading the sack Martin Amidu chorus.
Interestingly, it was the same Martin Amidu who then candidate Mills in selecting a running mate for the 2000 elections lauded as a loyalist, a fearless fighter with good revolutionary ethics to bridge the gap between the revolutionary PNDC era and the constitutional NDC. Today Martin has fallen by standing tall to uphold the same principles with the man who touted those credentials in Martin being the chief executioner.
Government, a reliably Castle source hinted Today, was not comfortable with the intended press conference. With the Woyome saga assuming many dimensions since it erupted, Castle was jittery about what Betty would have spilled out in her intended press conference.
The paper however gathered that Betty felt betrayed by her party members and of course the presidency because Betty sources, have intimated that the amount was paid by the finance minister and that she (Betty) only made her recommendations to the president on the issue.
Betty, according to usually reliable sources, had to be prevailed upon to halt what would have become a dent on the image of the Castle in her abortive press conference last week. The paper gathered Betty’s expose would have implicated many top officials of the government and that had to be nipped-in-the bud through a presidential caveat.
To avoid a similar Martin Amidu intransigence, which would have offered a major tool to the opposition and the probing Ghanaian media a meal to feast on in the coming weeks and months, government did a subtle secret bent-knee bid by getting to Betty, through her proxy allies to advise her to resign or to call her to “order.”