The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has denied claims he shared up to GHS1 million to New Patriotic Party (NPP) executives in the Ashanti Region amid reports he is nursing presidential ambitions.
In a statement, Dr. Akoto said such claims were fabricated.
“Meeting 17 constituency executives for each of the 47 constituencies in my house meant I was receiving about 700 delegates. My house does not have the capacity to accommodate such numbers,” he argued.
In the statement, he noted further that his recent trip to Kumasi was to rest and try to recover from a fever.
He did welcome some party executives to his home and parted ways with some money given for transport.
“I accepted to grant audience to some party executives who had been making calls for a meeting to discuss matters concerning the welfare of the party. However, such meetings end with an amount given as transportation to guests who came from far and near,” the Minister said.
Dr. Akoto also refuted claims he was leveraging his relationship with President Akufo-Addo to further his political ambitions.
He said, “it can only be a figment of one’s imagination to assume that I will put the President in such an uncomfortable situation by using his name to campaign”.
Dr. Akoto feels “there is a deliberate effort by my detractors from within and outside my party to cause disaffection between me and the party and between me and the government for which I have worked so hard in the last four years”.
Campaign posters of Dr. Akoto emerged on social media heightening speculation on his presidential ambitions.
Aside from him, there has been some support for potential presidential bids by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen.
A Deputy General Secretary of the NPP, Nana Obiri Boahene, however, criticised persons who have started campaigning for some potential aspirants for the NPP flagbearship ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Campaign activities are yet to be sanctioned by the National Executive Committee and the National Council of the party.
The governing party is expected to hold its presidential primary in 2023.