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I sacked Victor Smith for diverting party funds - Rawlings

Former President J. J. Rawlings has accused Victor Smith who was once is Special Aide, of trying to retrieve cash without his knowledge when he was working with him.
The founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) revealed he dismissed the former Ambassador to the United Kingdom for diverting campaign funds.

Speaking at the 38th celebration of the June 4 Revolution in Wa in the Upper West Region on Sunday, Mr Rawlings said he parted ways with Mr Smith because he tried diverting funds some Nigerians had promised to pump into the party’s campaign for late Professor John Evans Atta Mills ahead of election 2008.

Narrating what happened, he said some Nigerians invited him to the USA after he left office to give a talk and commission a project for them.
Two years later, when Professor Mills was running for the presidency, the Nigerians decided to help, so they were dealing with Mr Rawlings' office then managed by Mr Smith.

“I subsequently heard about it because there was a to-and-fro on this contribution issue and somebody finally called me that this is what is going on—they know me, they want to give me the money, and I can pass it on and not give it to Victor Smith,” he said.
“But Victor Smith is saying that he will take it to the Professor because I’m not the one going to be the candidate...” Mr Rawlings said.
According to him, eventually, the donors held back their money because of the confusion.
He added that Mr Smith subsequently disseminated lies about him on the radio over the issue.

There were lots of hearsays when Mr Smith was fired but in a recent interview, the one-time parliamentary candidate for Abuakwa North said he was dismissed because he supported former President, John Mahama. But Mr Rawlings has denied this.
Mr Smith was dismissed via a text message in 2008 by Mr Rawlings.
He was subsequently asked to vacate his official residence with a letter to the Chief of Staff at the Castle, notifying the State, since he was on the payroll of government.

Mr Rawlings expressed shock at the then NDC candidate Mills who knew the truth about the issue but kept quiet for what he described as “rubbish” to continue.
“Eventually, the contribution did not even come. I did not receive any contribution from them, through Mills, through Smith or directly or through the persons who came to see me also. And I don’t believe Prof. Mills received any money from that place.

"And yet when the time came to pour poison on me started, this secretary of mine was telling the world on radio stations that contributions were coming for a certain nationalistic duty and he had stopped it and diverted it to the flagbearer.

"In other words, he had stopped it from coming to me. I was disgusted that this guy would make such a story. But you know the one who angered me the most, our Professor Mills who knew the truth but kept quiet for this poison to burn me. As if I was fraudulent,” he added.