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12.03.2009 Letter

AFAG CALL FOR ALHAJI MUHAMMAD MUMUNI'S RESIGNATION AS MINISTER

By ALLIANCE FOR ACOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE (AFAG)
Hon Mohamed Mumuni and Mr. Arnold BoatengHon Mohamed Mumuni and Mr. Arnold Boateng

ALLIANCE FOR ACOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE (AFAG) PETITIONS THE PRESIDENT

FOR THE RESIGNATION OF FOREIGN MINISTER, ALHAJI MOHAMED MUMUNI

AFAG is an advocacy pressure group committed to ensuring accountability in public service. Over the past month, AFAG has engaged the government over four of his ministers. These ministers are Hon Sherry Aryittey, Hon Haruna Idirisu, Hon Hanna Tetteh, and Hon Mohamed Mumuni. The group at this stage deem it necessary to write to the president to officially bring to his attention the particular case of Mohamed Mumuni, who has been implicated by the Auditor General of the Republic of Ghana for having failed to account for funds he authorized for release from state coffers. All this while, the government has kept quiet over the scandal surrounding this minister.

Please find attached text of the statement to the President.

9th March, 2009

His Excellency the President,
Republic of Ghana,
Castle, Osu,
Accra.
Dear Sir,

CALL FOR ALHAJI MUHAMMAD MUMUNI'S RESIGNATION AS MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

We wish to formally congratulate Your Excellency on your success in the recent general elections and subsequent assumption of duty as the Chief Executive Officer of the nation.

Our organisation is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with the prime object of promoting accountability among the three arms of government under the Constitution, 1992 and generally ensuring good governance.

In the spirit of discharging the goals of our NGO, our interest has been stimulated by certain steps, decisions and actions of Your Excellency which evidence your government's commitment to living up to the benchmarks of probity and accountability. Particularly, the withdrawal of the former nominee for the position of Minister for Works and Housing, Hon. Moses Asaga for authorising the release of public funds and generally acting without proper mandate, was a worthy indicator to us of your government's readiness, willingness and ability to adhere to the principles of probity and accountability.

Our attention has been engaged over the last few weeks by an issue of immense public interest which if not decisively dealt with by Your Excellency, has a real likelihood of being an enormous dent on your government's track record on accountability and good governance. It cannot be denied that issues relating to the involvement of the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, in the disbursement of colossal amounts of state funds in the years 1999/2000 have a huge tendency of undermining the efforts of Your Excellency in building a government which measures up to the yardstick of good governance and also substantially erodes the capacity of the Honourable Foreign Minister to be a creditable chief ambassador of the nation in the eyes of the international community.

As Your Excellency may recall, when Alhaji Muhammad Munmuni was nominated as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, our organisation brought the eminently important matter of public of interest, i.e. the role played by Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni in the release of amounts close to Two Million Ghana Cedis (GH₵ 2,000,000.00) out of the public purse and to fraudulent companies which did not render the service they were required to perform or deliver the equipment they were required to supply, contained in the report of an audit body duly constituted by the Auditor-General of the Republic of Ghana, to the attention of Parliament. We demanded a withdrawal of the nomination of Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni until the then nominee had purged himself of the specific findings of collusion and connivance in the perpetration of fraud, corruption, gross negligence and conduct which resulted in financial loss to the state. We also demanded a thorough probe by Parliament of the issues raised in the report submitted to the Auditor-General.

Be that as it may, the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs succeeded albeit unjustifiably, in impeding Parliament from conducting an effective scrutiny of the issues raised in the said report by wielding an action in defamation filed by his good self as a shield. Consequently, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni was strangely approved as Foreign Minister amidst controversy and drama although judgment in the case he had purported to wield as a shield from an examination of his involvement in the wrongful release of state funds, was only less than two weeks away.

As fate would have it, judgment in the case Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni had used to prevent Parliament from executing its constitutional injunction was delivered on the 27th day of February, 2009. The action instituted by Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni was dismissed by the High Court which adjudicated on same. Your Excellency, even though the court which presided over the proceedings was not a criminal court, for the purposes of effectively determining the merits of the claim filed by the incumbent Foreign Minister and in order to determe the issues in dispute in that case, the court made certain definitive findings worthy of your attention. Very importantly, the legality and validity of the audit report the subject matter of the action was upheld by the court. Secondly, the court observed that the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs had violated the Financial Administration Instrument (L. I. 1234) in force at the time the amounts in question were disbursed on the authorization of the minister. Thirdly, the court observed the minister's inability to defend himself against most of the allegations made by the Defendants in that case against the minister. Lastly, the court upheld the defence set up by the Defendants therein and in the event, dismissed the reliefs sought by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The consequence of the decision rendered by the court which presided over the defamation suit brought by the Minister for Foreign Affairs is that the audit report in question is valid. The damnatory findings made against the Honourable Minister are still part of the public records. Same have not been set aside by any financial tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction. In the eyes of the public and international community, the Minister is indicted of the offences he is alleged to have committed by the report of an audit body duly constituted by the Auditor-General of the Republic of Ghana.

Very respectfully Your Excellency, the interest of the nation is supreme to that of any individual. Your Excellency is enjoined by the dictates of the basic law of the state, the 1992 Constitution to conduct the affairs of the nation in consonance with accepted principles of international law, norms and conventions and by the benchmarks of probity, accountability and the rule of law. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni is now the chief diplomat of the nation. He is the face of the nation abroad. Issues relating to the adverse findings of financial impropriety and gross negligence made against him when he held a public office in or about 1999/2000 have captured the attention of the international community by virtue of the world being a global village now. It is undoubtedly questionable how Alhaji Mumuni can be a creditable ambassador for the nation in the face of all the unresolved issues surrounding the role he played in the alleged perpetration of crime against the state in 1999/2000. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni may be a leading member of the ruling party but the state ultimately will be the loser if Alhaji Mumuni continues in office as the Foreign Minister. We respectfully implore you not to sacrifice the supreme interest of the nation on the altar of expediency or in the spirit of preserving the dignity of a leading member of the ruling party. The image of the nation internationally does not have to be tainted by fraud, corruption and misappropriation of state funds. Neither does the bearer of that international image have to be dogged by findings of financial impropriety and gross negligence while in public office.

In the light of the foregoing, we respectfully call on Your Excellency to compel the resignation of the incumbent Foreign Affairs Minister in the interest of underscoring your government's resolve to maintain the highest standards of good governance, accountability and rule of law. In the event of a refusal by the Minister to resign, we respectfully urge you to summon the necessary courage to terminate the appointment of Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni as Foreign Affairs Minister. Alhaji Mumuni may have the competence to be a minister but it is our respectful view that the question of the integrity of a person as a trustee of power and state resources is of prime importance in determining the suitability of that person to discharge the duties associated with an appointment to the high office of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It is necessary to state that Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni has since the commencement of your administration, demonstrated the predilection to act with utter impunity. Reference can easily be made to the unconstitutional imposition of curfews in certain parts of the country and the unlawful termination of the appointments of some heads of institutions made by Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni when he was temporarily in charge of the Ministry of Interior. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni clearly has shown he has the penchant for abusing his office and powers whenever he is made a trustee of power and state resources.

As is the practice, whenever a civil or public servant is indicted by a report of the Auditor-General, that person is interdicted and compelled to step aside pending the conclusion of investigations into that person's involvement in the specific matters the subject of the audit report. Alhaji Mumuni is not an ordinary public servant. He is the holder of the high office of Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic. That standard set for mere civil/public servants must be applied to him. We also request you to ensure a thorough and careful examination of the role played by Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni in the disbursement of various amounts of public funds to certain persons for services not rendered or for equipment not delivered.

We wish to congratulate you once again on your election to the highest office of the land. We wish to indicate the preparedness of our NGO to co-operate with you towards attaining the noble goals and objectives you have set for your self and this nation. Whilst engaging in constructive criticism, we assure of our support whenever necessary.

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,

Arnold Boateng
(Secretary)
Alliance For Accountable Governance.

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