The Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper, Ben Ephson has confirmed a report in the latest trove of leaked diplomatic cables released by international whistle blowing website Wikileaks that the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Asare Gabby Otchere-Darko offered him $20,000 to skew opinion polls to favour the NPP in the run up to the 2008 general elections.
Speaking in an interview on an Accra based radio station after earlier declining to speak on the matter on various networks, Ben Ephson categorically stated that Gabby Otchere-Darko approached him tailor the results of his poll to make the NPP look good in the face of the electorates.
Mr Ephson is reported in the leaked US Embassy in Ghana cable to have said quite openly that the NPP had tried to bribe him with at least $20,000 to produce a poll favorable to them and named the party official offering the money as Gabby Otchere-Darko, a cousin of the party’s candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo.
He also said, although without presenting the evidence he claimed to have, that the NPP tried to get the names of polling agents for other parties. Ben Ephson said the NPP wanted to use this information to bribe agents, and was willing to pay $1,000 for polling agents to collaborate with vote rigging.
However, Gabby Otchere in an interview with Citi News earlier on denied ever offering $20,000 to Ben Ephson and urged the pollster to come out and exonerate him of the allegations. I never tried to bribe Ben Ephson with any money, whether with $20,000 dollars or anything. Ben is alleged to have said that and I think that it is only fair that he comes out to say what he said or did not say. I never got in touch with Ben Ephson about any opinion in favour of the NPP.
Speaking on Joy News on Monday however, Ben Ephson insisted that the NPP attempted to bribe him with $20,000 to get pre election opinion polls skewed in favour of the NPP. In a heavy war of words with Gabby Otchere Darko on the issue, Ben Ephson maintained and insisted that he would not gain anything by leaking such information to American diplomats if he was not offered anything.
In another twist to the ongoing saga, Asare Gabby Otchere-Darko however revealed that the renowned pollster rather approached him for money to conduct pre election opinion polls when he ran out of funds. Otchere-Darko categorically denied ever offering a bribe for favourable poll results.
The senior NPP member insisted the only meeting between him and Ben Ephson was after the first round of elections and not prior to the election as reported by Wikileaks and Ben Ephson.