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19.02.2007 General News

[email protected] Bags 81 Billion Donations

By HERITAGE

In Less than 24 hours after the Minister for Public Sector Reform, Mr Paa Kwesi Nduom, had requested the [email protected] Secretariat to render accounts to him, the Heritage newspaper reported that the actual cash the [email protected] Secretariat had received was ¢18.4 billion, whilst a cheque for ¢19.5 billion had also been delivered to it. A further amount of ¢28.2 billion in pledges had also been made, aside of ¢15 billion sponsorship offered the Secretariat.

Put together, all the cash, cheques, pledges and sponsorship that those charged with organizing Ghana's 50th anniversary have bagged, amount to 81.1 billion cedis or a little over nine million dollars.

In an interview with the Public Affairs Manager, Henry Wellington Okyne explained that not all monies that people donate go to the Secretariat, noting that in most instances, they do so in support of certain projects. He gave a typical example of One touch, the local telephone giant that has donated money to the Secretariat, not in cash, but actually opting to support hiplife and highlife artistes, who will be performing on various programmes.

He stated that the $20 million earmarked to be provided by Government had not been lodged into in any special account or a safe at the Secretariat, but constitutes just a budgetary allocation that goes through the normal way for contracts to be paid for.

Explaining further, he said $20m was being used for rehabilitations, infrastructure and what he described as legacy projects; adding, "Not even a pesewa of that money would be used for the various events taking place during the period. Examples of the legacy projects are the Jubilee Kindergarten, toilets, rest houses being built in municipalities and metropolis in all the regions".

Part of the same $20 million is being used to construct houses at the Cantonments and Ridge suburbs of Accra to accommodate Heads of States, who will be attending the Jubilee celebration and the AU summit scheduled for later this year. The 30 identikit houses that started on January 8, this year, would be ready by the end of June this year.

He, however, noted that private developers are putting up 71 of the houses, which will also be ready by the end of June. "The provision of lights, water and road network are being done by the government.

"The money is being used to refurbish historical landmarks in the whole country and work on them is scheduled to end by the end of this month. A new lounge is being built at the Kotoka International Airport and it's anticipated to be completed at the end of this month.

The Freedom and Justice Park, 28th February Road, Military Monuments, African Unit Square at Ridge are places the PWD Prestige is working on", he said.

Asked how much had been spent so far, Mr Okyne replied "that would involve so much paper work, I cannot answer now".

According to Wellington Okyne, the donations from individuals and corporate entities would be used to fund projects, advertisement and fuel for the Freedom Flame which would be starting from today, February 19, to March 6, the main day for the Golden Jubilee celebration.

Last Friday, the Minister for Public Sector Reform, Paa Kwesi Nduom, demanded unequivocally that the [email protected] Secretariat render accounts on all the monies they had received to him without any delay.

That was in apparent search for solution to public anxiety over the billions of cedis that daily stream into the coffers of the Secretariat and the suspicion that parts could be misused or stolen.

However, Dr Charles Yves Wereko-Brobbey, alias Tarzan, Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat, reacted angrily to the statement by Minister Ndoum, when he was called by the host of current affairs programme on a local radio station last Saturday

According to him, he did not understand the motive behind Dr Nduom's demand for accountability before even the real occasion is celebrated. "It is important to know what objective he has or what purpose he wants to achieve by doing all these".

He recalled that, about four years ago, whilst in office as the Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA), he had to encounter a similar behaviour by the Minister who accused him and his executives of causing financial loss to the state.

The consequence, he said, was that the country had to live with rampant power outages up till now. Wereko-Brobby said he would, therefore, not want [email protected] to suffer the same fate.

Dr Wereko-Brobbey assured that he was ready to open to public scrutiny, stressing that nothing that he had done in public life over the past 20 years that had been subjected to any probe or credible accusation of corruption or improper behaviour and added that if Dr Nduom was concerned, he should express it in public, but must be specific.

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