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18.02.2009 Politics

Ex gratia letter didn't originate from castle - BNI

Ex gratia letter didn't originate from castle - BNI

The Bureau of National investigations (BNI) says its investigations into the authenticity of a letter purported to have emanated from the former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, approving ex gratia payment to Article 71 officials have so far revealed that the letter did not originate from the Castle neither was it located at the Registry of the Office of the Speaker.

The Chief Director at the Castle, Mr L.T. Tusoe, is reported to have told investigators that the letter did not come from the Castle, while the Secretary to the former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani identified only as Vida, did not remember typing such a letter.

"Moreover, the normal procedures in the delivery of letters in official circles, particularly at the Castle, were not followed, leaving no trace of the letter at its purported origin or destination.

Explaining the procedure, highly placed sources at the BNI said letters leaving the Castle are to be registered in the dispatch diary, which the recipient must counter-sign. It said there was no such trace, adding that there was also no trace of the letter at the Speaker's Registry confirming receipt.

According to the investigators, although the letter was dated December 30, 2008, checks in the records of registries from November 2008 to February 9, 2009 were done without any trace of the letter.

The sources said the task given the BNI was to investigate the origin and destination points of the letter, which it had done and the report on it sent to the Chief of Staff, Mr Martey Newman, for the next line of action.

On whether the BNI spoke to the former Chief of Staff, the sources answered in the negative and explained that the investigations were just to verify whether there were records of the origin of the letter and when it got to its final destination.

When the attention of the sources was drawn to the fact that Mr Mpiani had admitted openly that he had written the letter, they said the question Mr. Mpiani should answer was when and where he had written the letter, who had delivered it and to whom.

When the Daily Graphic got in touch with Mr Mpiani for his reaction, he declined to comment on the issue, saying he preferred to wait for the investigations to be completed and the findings made public.

When he was told that there were no records at the registries of the Castle and the Office of the Speaker of Parliament on the letter, he said he could not tell what went on there and declined further comment.

Later, after addressing a press conference in Accra, Mr Mpiani reiterated his position to the Daily Graphic that he had personally written the letter on the ex gratia for former President Kufuor, his Vice-President, Members of Parliament (MPs) and other public officials.

He said he gave the letter to the former Speaker of Parliament and a copy was kept at the Office of the Former President, as was the normal practice, adding that it was for the government to ask the Speaker of Parliament for it.

On the issue of the letter not having a reference number, he said it was for the new administration to check if, for the years he had served as Chief of Staff, he wrote other letters with reference numbers.

"They should find out what happens at the Chief of Staff's Office; whether I have written a letter with a reference number or not. Then you can come and ask me why that letter alone does not have any," he told the Daily Graphic.