Mr. Alan Kyeremanten, Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (MOTI) has described as absolutely unfounded, allegations contained in a petition by Mr. Kwesi Arthur to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), saying the petitioner is ignorant and pedestrian.
He therefore urged the commission not to worry its head over the allegations of causing financial loss to the state, abuse of office and unfair treatment leveled against him and Mr. A.S. Bekoe, a director at the ministry. In a strongly-worded joint response to CHRAJ, the minister contended that the petitioner was motivated by ill-will and a strong desire to bring his laudable motives into disrepute.
The response, dated May 17, 2007, and compiled by Afari Yeboah and Associates, contended that if for any reason there are suspicions of illegality with the disbursement of some ¢32 billion Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) monies, then Mr. Arthur should be accountable for it since he was a member of the board that controlled the monies at the time.
“It is quite obvious from the disparate nature of the complaints, not only made against the respondents but the successor Board of EDIF, that the petitioner has possibly been driven among other things by the melancholy of the loss of his membership of the EDIF Board, which at any rate was occasioned by the expiration of their tenure of office,” it said. Virtually deriding the petitioner, Alan said Arthur seemed to have little understanding of what conflict of interest actually was and wondered how a company director worth his salt could exhibit that level of ignorance.
“If being an institutional representative as provided by the enabling statute makes a person a judge in his own cause,” it said, “then clearly, the petitioner does not appreciate what amounts to conflict of interest. In the circumstances, the petitioner's understanding of conflict of interest is clearly out of ignorance or pedestrian, both of which are equally serious especially since he describes himself as a professional company director.”
According to the response, Messrs Kyeremanteng and Bekoe were, by their duties, neither signatories to the EDIF account nor had any control whatsoever of the signatories.
It contended further that the petitioner only complained about the alleged acts long after he had lost his position on the board. “If there is any illegality in respect of the payment of the amount out of the Grant Fund, then the illegality was committed by the 1st EDIF Board, of which petitioner was a member and who were at all material times the custodians in all respects de facto and de jure of the accounts of the fund,” the response stressed.
It noted also that Ghana would not fulfill her dreams of becoming a beacon of economic development if such character assassination was not discouraged. It is recalled that Arthur, until recently the Greater Accra Regional treasurer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and former EDIF Board member, on April 21, 2007 petitioned CHRAJ on some alleged improprieties involving the minister. Among the tall list of complaints were the payment of EDIF monies to MOTI, rental of premises, ultra vires actions, conflict of interest, appointments and the approval of credit facilities.
The minister, however, described it as a red herring that was not worthy of any serious consideration.“The person who is most associated with the acts complained of under this heading is rather the petitioner, who from his petition, seeks to subject his own acts to scrutiny. It is evident that the allegation of causing financial loss should not engage the mind of the commission. There is no evidence to support this offence.
It was thrown in as a red herring and should be treated as such,” it concluded.
No date has been fixed as yet for hearing.