ST.GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 25, CMC – Prime Minister Tillman Thomas on Friday confirmed that his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has received 150,000 US dollars from an undisclosed overseas donor while denying allegations of impropriety.
But the Grenadian leader has declined to disclose the amount of money received or identify the donor, the NDC’s general secretary has denied the party received funds and the party’s treasurer has declined comment.
Thomas was reacting to claims from Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell that the money was wired into the account of an unnamed senior government minister from a Saudi Arabian source.
Mitchell suggested that the transaction may have been illegal.
But in an interview on the Government Information service (GIS) Television morning show, Prime Minister Thomas said the allegations of underhand dealings are much ado about nothing.
“People are making accusations. From time to time any political organizations would receive contributions. All the transactions I have done are above board,” Prime Minister Thomas said.
“There is nothing to hide. This is normal. A contribution came through a banking institution. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Once it comes from a legitimate source and it is for the use of the (party) that’s part of the democratic process,” he added.
The prime minister has previously denied receiving any money from Saudi Arabia and told a local television station that he was not aware that any of his ministers have.
But on the GIS programme the Grenadian leader suggested that the money was received by what he termed a trusted individual.
“Some of it does not come through any banking institution at all,” the Prime Minister said.
“Of course we have nothing to hide if somebody wants to make a contribution to a political organization and make it through an individual within an organization …a trust worthy individual I see nothing wrong with that.”
Bernard Isaac, the ruling party’s treasurer has declined comment.
“I cannot comment on this right now. I need to seek clearance from the political leader,” Isaac said when asked if the party had received money through a trusted individual.
General Secretary Peter David, the former tourism minister who quit from the Thomas cabinet in a rift with the prime minister, said the NDC is unaware of the money in question being deposited into the party’s bank account.
“As general secretary of the party I must say that we have no knowledge of this issue,” David told reporters.
“What I know is what I have heard through the media.”