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12.03.2009 Politics

Mills man is hot

By Daily Guide
Mills man is hot

Fiifi Fiavi Frankline Kwetey The Parliamentary approval of President John Evans Atta Mills' embattled Deputy Minister-designate for Finance and Economic Planning, Fiifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey, is in danger, as four of his colleagues were unanimously endorsed yesterday, leaving him in limbo.

The Appointments Committee could not reach a consensus on him, leading to the hold-up.

Minority MPs have described Fiifi Kwetey as a chronic liar and an arrogant man who has no competence to help manage the economy of this country in the midst of the current global financial crisis.

“He is going into a ministry where figures matter, and if you care to know, there are instances where if you send wrong figures to IMF you will be punished financially and we are of the view that given the man's own track record, is this the kind of man that you give the opportunity to play with our figures – interest rates, analysis? These are mathematical things that you can't fiddle with in the name of propaganda,” Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South told Joy FM yesterday.

Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs went through a similar ordeal before the NDC majority used its strength to push him for the job.

Even though the loquacious NDC Propaganda Secretary sounded unperturbed when asked on a number of radio stations, sources said the nominee is lobbying seriously to get the Parliamentary approval.

The four approved nominees, Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Likpalimor Kwajo Tawia - all Ministers of State, and Seth Emmanuel Tekper, a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, appeared before the Appointments Committee together with Fiifi Kwetey for vetting on Monday.

Mr Kwetey was last Monday grilled by the committee for over four hours - the longest period for any nominee of President Mills. The interaction was characterized by tempestuous arguments on the character, omissions and commissions of the nominee.

The NDC propaganda secretary was reportedly left out of the group because his report was not ready for presentation on the floor of Parliament as the Minority side vows to scuttle his approval.

A source within the committee says the report on the aide to ex-President Jerry John Rawlings is being delayed because there is no consensus for his approval by the committee members.

He is seen by many as a hot-headed and intemperate person whose endorsement would spell doom for the Ghanaian economy.

According to the source, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is such an important sector that people who are trustworthy, level-headed and relatively meticulous with their work should be in-charge of the ministry so as not to misreport figures on the Ghanaian economy, adding that “Fiifi Kwetey has a penchant for telling lies and therefore not the right person for Ministry of Finance”.

The Minority argued that in the run-up to the 2008 elections, the nominee used his position as propaganda secretary of the then opposition NDC, on the platform of “Forum to Set the Record Straight”, to make several damning accusations against the then NPP administration including an allegation that the previous administration had sold out the Gold reserve of the country.

Fiifi also alleged on the same platform that the Kyebi office of the NDC was burnt to ashes and one Abu Mohammed, an NDC functionary, was crippled as a result of a resounding beating by “thugs” alleged to have been hired by Nana Akufo-Addo - allegations which have now been totally debunked by the MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea.  

This reported behaviour is in sharp contrast to his colleague's, Seth Tekper, who was calm, humble, and knowledgeable on economic issues with a sense of humility to the admiration of the Members of the Committee.

Commenting before the smooth approval of the four lucky nominees, MPs from both sides of the House appealed to President Mills to consider nominating at least one MP for the Ministry of Finance as none of the nominees so far is from the Legislature.

The Chairman of the Appointments Committee and First Deputy Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, in supporting the request, noted that most of the work of the House involves the Ministry of Finance and therefore making an MP a Minister at the Ministry would greatly facilitate the business of Parliament.

With this demand and the apparent delay in the approval of Fiifi Kwetey, it is not clear whether the NDC Propaganda Secretary would get Parliamentary endorsement from even the Majority side as they may want President Mills to replace him with one of their own. For now, the arrows seem to be pointing at Moses Asaga, MP for Nabdam who was earlier withdrawn as nominee for Water Resources, Works and Housing.

By Awudu Mahama & Sheilla Sackey