Muntaka For CHRAJ Over Girlfriend
Even as President John Evans Atta Mills' much detested defence of former Youth and Sports Minister Muntaka Mubarak continues to resonate across the country, a civil society organization has dragged the Asawase MP to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), describing his acquisition of a German visa for Edith Zineuali, his girlfriend, as fraudulent.
The Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF), the petitioner, duly registered in the country and unsatisfied with the Mills-ordered National Security apparatus investigation and exoneration of the former minister, wants CHRAJ to undertake what it describes as a full probe into the tenure of Muntaka as Sports Minister.
The petition signed by spokesperson for the PNF, Richard Kwesi Nyamah, wants CHRAJ to declare that the former minister indeed abused his office and engaged in acts of conflict of interest “for his personal gain at the expense of the Republic of Ghana”.
The petition, hitting the public domain a few days after President Mills' ill-fated defence of the MP he describes as the young man, is set to add fuel to the already blazing subject.
President Mills, without doubt, failed to convince the petitioner and other Ghanaians in his attempt at dousing the Muntaka fire when he described the latter's action as constituting indiscretion and not corruption.
The former minister was therefore only asked to refund the state money he misappropriated.
His teaching spirit was in full flight when he took his media audience through a brief but worrying course in what constitutes corruption, indiscretion and misrepresentation.
The petitioner is of the view that the “Muntaka girlfriend” visa application bordered on criminality and demands of CHRAJ to declare that the former minister was fraudulent in obtaining a German visa for his female friend.
In Ms. Edith Zineuali's visa application to enable her to travel with the former minister to Germany, it was suggested that she was a staff of the Sports Ministry when indeed she worked with the Parliamentary Service as secretary to Alban Bagbin, Majority Leader.
This, the President said, was a misrepresentation and does not border on criminality as being considered by the petitioner and a cross-section of Ghanaians. President Mills even wondered if Muntaka was the first minister to have taken a girlfriend abroad on an official visit.
The PNF wants CHRAJ to prefer criminal charges against the former minister where according to it, he has been found to have been fraudulent.
In their six-point demand, the PNF adds that CHRAJ consider “any other order or orders as in the circumstance of the case the commission may deem fit to make.”
Exhibits pointed at by the petitioner are the documentary contents of the allegations by Adim Odoom, the Principal Accountant at the Ministry of Youth and Sports to President Mills; the report of the National Security on the said allegations submitted to the President; tickets for Ms. Edith Zineuali and Hon. Muntaka Mubarak; and claim sheet for per diem by respondent including application for the release of funds for service activity for April, 2009.
In June last year, the political temperature was raised beyond normal when the former minister's handling of affairs and alleged cases of impropriety were presented to the President.
In the President's response, amidst fiery interventions by members of the opposition and other concerned civil society organizations, he ordered a probe into the allegations.
The choice of the National Security apparatus to undertake the task did not amuse the agitators for the head of the minister as they claimed that such cases are best handled by the Police CID and not a body whose political lineage is too prominent to be objective.
Eventually, the former minister was exonerated, compelling those who expressed doubts about the integrity of the probe to grumble and to state “we expected such an outcome”.
The former minister, even after claiming that he did nothing untoward, was compelled to resign, but maintained his seat in the House of Parliament as Asawase MP.
A court of competent jurisdiction, according to the petitioner, has ruled against the actions of the President with regard to the National Security report.
Hon. Muntaka claimed that some people in government paid $10,000 as landing charges for the aircraft which took the government delegation to the CHAN tournament in Abidjan.
He succeeded in collecting the said amount which he claimed were to be refunded to Kojo Bonsu and Alex Segbefia, now deputy Chief of Staff.
He collected the money through the Chief Director, Anthony Ampong but failed to produce a receipt.
According to the disclosures of Mr. Odoom, he took a per diem allowance of GH¢2,000 for the Ghana vs Benin match in Kumasi when his maximum entitlement was GH¢1,120.
He was said to have personally arranged the accommodation of the Black Stars players and officials in Navaisha, Kenya, in a pre-match camping against Sudan and did same in Khartoum, without the involvement of any other official of the Ministry.
Respondent was said to have traveled to Abidjan with his girlfriend, Edith Zineuli, insisting that the cost of her ticket will borne by the Ministry.
Hon Muntaka allegedly fraudulently acquired a German visa for Edith under the pretext that she was an employee of the Ministry of Sports when indeed she worked for the Parliament of Ghana.
The whistle-blowing Chief Director was sent packing out of office on the orders of President Mills but the courts re-instated him, declaring his dismissal an illegality.
President Mills' disagreement with the notion about Muntaka was given vent when he told the media last week that the Asawase MP is blameless, having done what, according to him, no minister can do- resigning a ministerial position. For him, the young man should be commended.
A Daily Guide Report