DESPITE POPULAR perception that the Minority would be boycotting the vetting of deputy Ministers, Chronicle has gathered that on the contrary, they would be present and very vigilant when the nominees appear before the committee. Chronicle learnt within the week that fear has gripped some of the nominees who watched as the entrails of their colleagues were ripped in the full glare of national television and for international consumption.
Of those on the 'emergency ward' of nominees in peril, the most endangered is none other than the highly-strung lawyer and former soldier, Captain Nkrabea Effah Dartey, the acting Deputy Minister of Local Government.
In one of the more embarrassing moments of last year, the highly profitable visa racketeering racket that engulfed the Government in the wake of the Presidential Affairs Minister's case, Captain Effah Dartey had his diplomatic passport flung at him when he approached the Embassy of Korea in October, last year.
Effah Dartey, the Deputy Minister, stated in a letter on an official letter head that he was leading a five-man delegation to Cyprus, Malaysia and South Korea on business negotiations and required a transit visa.
What caused the Koreans to raise their eyebrows was how such a fundamentally silly caper could be credited to a man who is a learned friend of law, a retired 'officer and a gentleman' to think that he could fool the Koreans into believing that what was clearly a programme that belonged to Kwamena Bartels' Private Sector Development schedule, could be appropriated by the Deputy Minister for Local Government.
“The Africa Local Business Forum is sending a five-man delegation to Cyprus, Malaysia and South Korea on business negotiations for an exhibition and real estate development from 22 October to 31st October 2004.”
“I will be leading the team as Deputy Minister. “I will be grateful if immigrant visa could be issued to enable us to pass through South Korea on the last leg of our visit.”
The Minister personally signed the letter, and attached the passports of the men, who it is believed he may have collected large sums of money from.
The men include Messrs Kenneth Antwi who had just turned 47 years of age, Lalisu Sana, 33, Ibrahim Issah, 30, and 43 year old Philip Anyimadu Amofa.
The visa applications were naturally rejected and the Minister's passport returned to him with the admonition that he should have known that he should go through state Protocol, and not send his passport through ordinary people.
Speaking to this reporter yesterday, Hon Effah Dartey denied ever leading a five-man delegation to the South Korean Embassy to acquire visas.
He demanded to know whether this reporter's intelligence sources had given him evidence.
When this reporter demurred, he conceded that he was approached by the forum to help them acquire visas for its five-man delegation to travel to Cyprus to participate in a local government trade fair in Cyprus.
Hon Effah Dartey continued that he told the members of the forum that when they were ready for the trip, he would contact the Acting Chief of Staff, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, to facilitate their acquisition of the visas.
He said he currently had a two-year visa to South Korea and would not go back to the Embassy for another visa as a leader of a delegation.
He additionally said he had never been refused a visa at the South Korean Embassy, as his visa to South Korea had not expired.
The deputy Minister of Interior-designate also denied vehemently any association with the African Local Business Forum, saying, “I don't know the members of the forum, and they only approached me to help them to attend a fair in Cyprus.”
Clearly, he was lying, as he did not have the opportunity to see the accompanying document, which carried his signature and his visa application.
Quizzed about the number of the forum members who approached him for the visas, he told The Chronicle 'I don't know.' Hon. Nkrabea Effah Dartey however saw the brewing storm as a political plot by his opponents to tarnish his hard won reputation, especially at a time when he had been nominated as the deputy Minister of Interior.
Chronicle is still investigating the issue that has lowered the estimation of some officials to these foreign missions as to what depth they would go to obtain visas, arguably not for humanitarian purposes.
This, in turn, embarrasses Government, as occurred in the infamous Bamba affair, which was uncovered by The Chronicle.
Whether or not the men had parted with money, which they have not recovered, is a matter, which Chronicle investigators are still trying to unravel.