Cash For seat Saga: Minority Walks Out Over Report

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Minority has walked out of Parliament over the cash for seat report. According to XYZ News’parliamentary Correspondent, Charles Akrofi, the Minority claims its members did not get the report on time.

Before the walkout, the motion to debate on the report was moved by Chairman of the committee, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh and seconded by New Juaben MP, Mark Assibey Yeboah who was a member on the committee.

Minority leader, Haruna Idrissu, who raised objection over the debate, said they were only given copies of the report on Tuesday morning so they could not participate in the debate.

“All members got their copies only this morning… so why the rush?. . .Of the 146 pages, I together with many other members are yet to satisfy and read through it thoroughly in order to make meaningful contributions to the debate,” saidMr Idrissu.

However, the Majority side says the debate will go on regardless the Minority’s boycott.

Majority leader, Osei Kyei mensah-Bonsu, believes the action of the Minority was as a result of their lack of understanding on the Parliamentary standing orders.

But Haruna Idrissu, who was bent on leading his side of the house out, said: “. . .In the interest of transparency and accountability, this matter cannot be railroaded through Parliament and I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that if the Chairman wants to proceed, he knows our position.

The The ad hoc committee laid its report on the floor of the House last Friday, February2,2018 after it asked for a week extension of the deadline to present the report. It was scheduled to be debated in the House today, February 6.

Sittings

NDC MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak who first raised the alarm of extortion was the first to be crossed examined when the committee begun sitting on January 11.

He led the committee through evidence adduced on both audio and written in his presentation.

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, was next to be heard on the committee. Presenting his case, the former deputy minister stated that charging expatriate businessmen to the tune of $100,000 to sit by President Nana Akufo-Addo at an awards event was unjustifiable and should not be countenanced by any means.

Other witnesses who also appeared before the committee were Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyeremanteng; Victor Gbeho, Chairman of the Millennium Excellence Foundation; Ashim Morton, and Founder and President of the Millennium Excellence Foundation which organised the event in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The expatriate business owners who were also invited to appear before the committee, last week failed to do so. It is unclear what the committee will be doing in the one week period, but sources say the business expats might be given another chance to be heard.

But the committee’s report exonerated Trade Minister Alan Kyeremateng while the Minority in its reportalso said the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF), organisers of the 2017 Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, selected companies which did not meet laid-down criteria for the awards.

It also indicated that MEF forged documents to deceive the Committee when it appeared before it.

Background

The claim was first made by Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, in December 2017, on the back of a leaked document, and alleged that the Trade Ministry had extorted monies from some expatriates to the tune of $100,000 to sit close to the President.

He argued on the floor that the monies  were not approved by Parliament  said it could also not be accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the Ministry’s accounts.

The Trade Ministry in a statement said it  did not play any role in determining prices for seats at the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA), and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation, the award organisers.

The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a query letter on Wednesday, December 20,2017, asked the Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Alan Kyeremateng to explain circumstances that led to financial demands from the expatriate business community.

The Ministry after the query from the President stated that an amount of GHc 2,667,215 was realised from the event.

The president subsequently cleared Mr. Kyeremateng of any wrongdoing  regarding the controversial matter.

In a statement signed by Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, on Thursday, December 21,2017 said “the facts, as reported to the president, do not disclose any wrongdoing on the part of the Minister or any government official.

The exoneration then led to the minority filing a motion in parliament to set up the committee.

 

Source: Ghana/myxyzonline.com/Henryson Okrah

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