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28.01.2005 General News

Edumadze denies a catalogue of allegations

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Accra, Jan. 28, GNA - Mr Isaac Edumadze, Central Regional Minister- Designate, on Friday said he was innocent of all allegations of corruption, abuse of power and brutality levelled against him by a petitioner.

The Minister-Designate, who spent more than an hour before the Appointments Committee was the first nominee to be questioned only on his supposed notoriety rather than achievements.

Mr Edumadze had told the Committee that he had always sought to protect himself from harm and that had been interpreted as brutality. On an alleged seizure of a taxi cab at Suhum in the Eastern Region, he said although, he was not entirely innocent of what happened, he had sought to protect himself from a "threat that he foresaw."

He said his vehicle was overtaken in the night by a taxi, which sought to prevent their forward movement so he thought they were robbers who were about to attack him.

He said he had to chase the taxi with his bodyguard only to discover that it had been abandoned in a nearby bush.

On another accident involving a taxi driver, he said while travelling to his home village, a taxi, which was coming from the opposite direction made a sudden turn in front of him, which could have resulted in a fatal accident, had he not applied his brakes. He said he took the number of the taxi and reported him to the police.

The nominee said he began farming as a fourteen-year-old boy and that he had about five farms whose produce generated substantial income. He had denied that he seized a tract of land to cultivate crops saying that he had negotiated with the Omanhene of Assin Tatanso Traditional area for the land.

He said he paid drinks and charges to cultivate on the land, which had been idle for a long time.

On an allegation that he had built a billion cedi mansion, he said he was putting up a house, which could not measure up to that value. He said as a Member of Parliament, Regional Minister, as a farmer, transport operator, he had access to income to start a personal house. The nominee denied inflating the cost of air conditioners which he requested for use in his office and Residency to the tune of 10,000 ten thousand dollars.

He said the supplier dealt with the Ministry of Finance and that he had no hand in the said transaction.

On another allegation that he demanded 250 million cedis from a contractor as "kick back" for projects, he said he never did that. The Regional Minister Designate said the said contractor, E. K and sons was a contractor who was working on many road projects in the Region.

He denied interfering in the Mankesim chieftaincy dispute, saying that he only sought for the gazetted chief from a deceased former Chairman of the Central Regional House of Chiefs.

He said it was the policy of the Regional Security Committee to deal with only gazetted chiefs.

On his alleged sour relationship with the Cape Coast Municipal Chief Executive, he said the Chief Executive had apologized for accusing him falsely on a number of occasions.

He mentioned among others that when the Chief Executive attracted a vote of no confidence in an assembly election he believed that he was behind it.

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