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03.02.2009 Business & Finance

Committee presents report on sale of unwholesome maize

By gna

A committee set by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) last year to investigate alleged sale of unwholesome maize for human consumption by a storekeeper of the Council says it the allegation is false and speculative.

The Northern Patriot in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a Non-Governmental Organization working in the area of equity and social justice, made the allegation at a press conference in August last year.

NORPRA further alleged that there was some furniture meant for schools that were left to go rotten, while wheelchairs meant for the disabled were also locked up in the RCC stores.

In response to the allegation, the Regional Minister at the time, Mr. Alhassan Samari, set up a committee to delve into the issues.

The Committee was tasked to investigate the circumstances leading to the sale of the unwholesome maize, how the maize got into the market, the beneficiaries of the alleged sale and any other matters relating to the sale of the maize.

In its finding, the Committee stated that none of the unwholesome food items was sold in the market for human consumption as alleged, adding that all those who had purchased the maize were adequately informed that it was only good for livestock and poultry, but not for human consumption.

“The allegations that the food items were found in the market was therefore purely speculative,” it added.

The Committee also noted that the maize was not part of a consignment of food items brought in 2007 to mitigate the hardship of people affected by floods.

It however, noted that the maize and some rice, which were declared unwholesome, were unilaterally sold by the Storekeeper without seeking permission from any of her superiors.

The Committee stated that the poor management of the RCC stores and the ineptitude of the storekeeper was part of the issue, saying the storekeeper lacked the requisite practical experience to manage the facility independently.

It said there was an element of collusion between the Storekeeper and Mr. Charles Ayando, one of the beneficiaries of the sale of the food items.

It therefore viewed the action of the Principal Storekeeper of the RCC as very grievous, which had indeed tarnished the reputation of the Council, especially the Regional Minister and the Chief Director.

The storekeeper's behaviour, the Committee said, constituted a gross misconduct, which could attract the severest penalty of dismissal.

However the Committee said, taking into account the storekeeper's newness in the Civil service without adequate orientation and training, it would suggest that she should be given 14 days' suspension with commensurate loss of pay.

In addition, the storekeeper should be posted out of the RCC to work under more experienced officers in the stores and inspectorate division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

It also recommended that the Bureau of National Investigations should conduct further investigation into the allegations raised.

The Chief Director of the RCC, Mr. Samuel N'lary, who read out the Committee's report at the press briefing, explained that the wheel chairs and school furniture that were also commented on by NORPRA, had been distributed to the beneficiaries.

In an interview with the NORPRA president, Mr. Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, commended the RCC for the report.

He said he would understudy it to make the necessary suggestions and contributions to the findings.

Source: GNA

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