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07.02.2009 General News

Tamper justice with mercy - Moses Asaga

By myjoyonline
Tamper justice with mercy - Moses Asaga

The withdrawn Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister-designate, Mr. Moses Asaga has appealed to the president to tamper justice with mercy.

He said the president should reconsider his decision to revoke his nomination because he has many positives which should not be overlooked because of a single misdeed.

The Member of Parliament for Nabdam who was nominated for the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry has his nomination revoked for ordering the payment of the controversial ex-gratia awards.

Mr. Asaga is held to have approved the remuneration without recourse to his colleagues in parliament or the transition team of the new government led by President Mills.

A statement signed by Presidential Spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga announced the decision of the president to withdraw the nomination but gave no reasons.

The rumour mill however says the president's decision was informed by Mr. Asaga's arbitrary decision to order the payment without informing him, or the Chairman of the transition team in charge of the finance ministry, Togbe Afede.

But Mr. Asaga believes his sin is not grave enough to warrant the revocation of his nomination.

He told Joy News' Evans Mensah the president should judge him on the basis of his strength and not his weakness.

“Even if I have done anything wrong, they should look at my positive side. I believe that my positive side is about a hundred fold compared to one single issue that they might have considered before dropping my name.”

Sources tell Joy FM that Mr. Asaga's ordering of the implementation of the Chinery Hesse committee recommendation paved the way for the Finance Ministry to instruct the Bank of Ghana to start disbursement from the consolidated fund into the personal bank accounts of all beneficiaries including former president Kufuor.

More than $20 million dollars has already been disbursed and sources say some of the beneficiaries have withdrawn the money.

Sacrificial lamb
The president is reported to have been informed about the payment on Wednesday last week. But for a president who raised unprecedented expectations about his commitment to fighting corruption, it was an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment by taking action.

He therefore quickly instituted an investigation into the issue which revealed that payment of the money was effected based on Mr. Asaga's signature who signed on behalf of the transition sub-committee on the economy.

Mr. Asaga assumed that once Parliament had approved the package endorsing the payment was a proper thing do.

Wrong timing
The former Deputy Finance Minister's authorization of the payment was done on January 16, this year.

Three days after the endorsement, however, details of the package were put out on the public domain and they generated huge controversy.

The public believes the country is too poor to lavish such gifts as two houses, 45-day holiday abroad, six house and many others on its former presidents.

The huge public outcry was shared by the NDC and to have one of its members instruct its implementation can only be a betrayal and could lose for the president public goodwill.

This is something the president certainly doesn't want to face.

Mr. Asaga could as well get away with this had the public not protested against the package.

The Committee for Joint Action held a demonstration against the ex-gratia awards arguing the committee that recommended the package was insensitive to the plight of many Ghanaians.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu