Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in their Corruption Watch report says Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Loans Centre (MASLOC) was involved in vote-buying during the recently held NPP Parliamentary primaries.
Abibata Zakaria was contesting against Farouk Aliu Mahama, son of the late former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama for the Yendi seat. She lost.
According to the findings, Hajia Abibata Zakaria facilitated the use of MASLOC money to allegedly induce NPP delegates and hopefully secure their votes in December 7 polls.
The CDD’s Corruption Watch investigations thus uncovered illegal use of state resources for personal gain.
On Thursday, May 21, 2020, Hajia Abibata Zakaria distributed GHC1,000 state cash under the guise of MASLOC loans to NPP delegates of Yendi constituency where she was a parliamentary aspirant for the June contest.
She told the NPP delegates in a video available to CDD Ghana that although MASLOC loans were not yet to be distributed, she ensured that as deputy CEO of MASLOC, loans to her constituents were not only distributed to them, but also the number of recipients were increased above what was permitted.
She added that a parliamentarian seeking to develop their constituency has to lobby the government, so “whoever comes to seek your mandate as MP, his or her links with people in government will put development to his or her people”.
“Though this gathering is not a political rally for me, there is no way we will do this without letting you know why we brought [it] here. Here is my Northern Regional Manager, he’s aware that MASLOC gives to a maximum of five groups in the Northern Region, but I’ve not regretted the fact that Yendi alone has been honoured with 35 groups. If I’ve not done so, you’ve the right to blame me because I can’t have such an opportunity and not help you my people,” Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria said.
She is also reported to have given three bags of NPK fertilizers to each delegate between June 12 and June 14.
When contacted by CDD Ghana’s Corruption Watch, Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria, admitted to the findings but stated that she did not err because the delegates applied for the loans the same way as was required of any other group.
“Of course, there were delegates part of the beneficiaries but as to how many delegates they were, I cannot tell because it was a mixture of delegates and non-delegates,” she told CDD.
When questioned about the timing which suggested vote-buying, the deputy MASLOC CEO said that she didn’t see it as such.
“...I didn’t use state money because the people applied for the loans,” she further stated. “As for the fertilizers [it] is one of the interventions I do for the people of Yendi and if you follow closely they will tell you the kind of interventions that I [have been sending] to the constituency since 2017,” she told Corruption Watch in a telephone interview.
Farouk Aliu Mahama polled 244 votes in the contest; Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria, polled 210; and Baba Daney, a chartered accountant, obtained 139 votes.