As they single out only one out of 20 allegations ...Busload of petitioners frustrated The scene at the lobby of the august Parliament yesterday was full of mixed reaction and explosion when for the second time in a week the parliamentary Vetting Sub-Committee refused to hear several witnesses who appeared before it to testify against the acting Central regional minister, Mr. Isaac Edumadze.
“The action by the sub-committee to pick only one out of about 20 allegations levelled against Mr. Isaac Edumadze, the acting Central regional minister, was nothing but an attempt to rig the vetting of the minister,” a leading journalist who could not come to terms with an attempt by the sub-committee to ignore all the serious allegations against the minister but dwell on only one, told the Chronicle.
Hon. P.C Appiah Ofori, the Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, in the Central Region, had filed a petition before the Appointment Committee of Parliament, asking the committee to freeze the appointment of Edumadze on the grounds that he was thickly involved in corruption and abuse of power.
It all started when Mr. Frederick K. Nutsugah, clerk of the Appointments Committee, after a marathon meeting with the members of the sub-committee, headed by Hon. Abraham Ossei-Aidoo, announced around 1 pm yesterday that the committee could not again allow the witnesses to appear before it to testify.
The witnesses, who had traveled all the way from the Central Region and other parts of the country to testify against the minister, were heard murmuring that, “They are doing everything possible to push Edumadze through.”
Some of the key witnesses included Cpl. Dennis Abraham, a Cape Coast Municipal City Guard, who was allegedly battered by the minister last month, Mr. Kojo Mbir, a courageous whistle blower of the premix fuel scandal, Araba Mould, a leading member of the Rahama Cooporative Association saga, Mr. Appiah Mensah, former NPP Constituency Chairman, some Assemblymembers and Chronicle's news editors.
“It would be very sad if they failed to listen to some of us after the minister had lied during the vetting,” Cpl. Abraham, who had stormed Parliament House to narrate his ordeal to the sub-committee with his medical report in hand, told the paper shortly after the committee had called off the sitting.
“Fighting corruption should not be left in the hands of the newspaper like the Chronicle alone; it is the civic responsibility of every Ghanaian but 1a.m. highly disappointed about the way things are going,” Mr. Kojo Mbir, who had brought tons of documents to testify before the committee about the minister's involvement in the dubious pre-mixed fuel deals, told this paper,.
“I have nothing personal against Edumadze but the truth of the matter is that I have suffered far too long fighting against fraud and dubious deals in the pre-mixed fuel and I think this is the appropriate platform to address and expose people, like Edumadze, who have used dubious means to line their pockets through pre-mixed fuel deals.” Mr. Mbir told the paper yesterday.
It would be recalled that last Wednesday the Vetting Sub–Committee of the Appointments Committee refused to hear the witnesses, including this reporter, who stormed Parliament to testify that among the score of allegations contained in the Hon. Appiah-Ofori's petition only one allegation, that is the one on the KE and Sons saga was going to be investigated by the committee.
Interestingly even before the main vetting, KE and Sons had denied the allegation that the minister had demanded about ¢250million before signing a certificate for him.
Because of this strange position of the committee, Hon. Appiah-Ofori filed a protest letter and was told by the chairman of the Sub-Committee, Hon. Abraham Ossei-Aidoo, to get his witnesses ready by yesterday, as his protest was being forwarded to the chairman of the Appointments Committee for consideration.
With this assurance a number of people who heard that the Sub-Committee would be hearing from the witnesses multiplied, as compared with the number that appeared last week, to testify about the 'sins' of the minister to the committee.
“Corruption is not only a dangerous enemy to this nation's development and progress but we are where we have found ourselves due to corruption that has taken the center stage in this country, no corrupt person is fit to hold any public position in this country. Rather they should be exposed and barred from holding any public office,” Hon Appiah-Ofori, summed up in disappointment shortly after the parliamentary Vetting Sub-Committee made the shocking announcement.