Minister Denies Cocaine Links
Deputy Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, George Oduro, has denied involvement in any cocaine case that would have torpedoed his ministerial ambition.
Mr Oduro, Member of Parliament (MP) for New Ebubiase in the Ashanti Region, was allegedly linked to cocaine deal that dates back to 2007.
Based on this allegation, the NDC Minority in Parliament had called for the withdrawal of the nominee.
According to Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, there was a damning Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) report incriminating Mr Oduro and therefore his nomination should be withdrawn.
However, the nominee dismissed the allegations, saying “I am not aware of any report so in case they make it available, I will love to see it.”
The report said the nominee, George Oduro was on May 2008 mentioned as a principal suspect in a cocaine syndicate.
The report suggested that he supposedly travelled on a Canadian passport and had an accomplice named Nelson Troy Edward.
The BNI further recommended that the nominee be withdrawn to prevent future embarrassment to the country.
It turned out that the drug suspect may not be the nominee but has similar name- George Kwame Oduro.
Haruna had said on the floor of the House in the absence of the nominee, who was being vetted that “the President should, for instance, consider withdrawing the nomination of one of their appointees by name George Oduro, because there is a damning BNI report on him and Mr. Speaker when we say we want to conduct due diligence, it is probably because of this. We have a responsibility here not to impugn the integrity of any calling, particularly when the person is a Member of Parliament but when the information comes to us, we have a duty to crosscheck the veracity or otherwise of that particular information…” Haruna alleged.
But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu interrupted, saying the NDC MP was being unfair since the accused was absent and the minority had boycotted the vetting.
“The person whose issue the Minority Leader is raising is not part of this report so Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that he is talking about this. On the issue of relevance, the person is not being considered,” the Minority Leader argued.
However, the Minority Leader later accused BNI of misleading Parliament in the cocaine allegation, saying that it was a case of mistaken identity.
George Oduro told Joy Fm that he never dealt in cocaine neither has he travelled to Canada before in his entire life.
He also stated emphatically that he does not know or ever met the supposed accomplice called Troy Edward.
Even more dramatic, the nominee said his name is George Boahene Kofi Oduro and not George Kwame Oduro as the BNI report indicated.
He wondered why the BNI would write such report without hearing from him.
“I have never ever travelled on any Canadian passport, neither have I ever dealt in any narcotics trade,” he told Joy FM.
In a response, the Minority Leader indicted the BNI for misleading him and the Minority.
“This is more an indictment on the integrity and professional work of the BNI. As part of our work at the Appointments Committee, we normally will request for background information of the nominees from the BNI, Police, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),” he pointed out.
He said his comments on the matter were informed by the report he received from the BNI in a letter dated 23rd March 2017.
There is a strong speculation that the alleged BNI letter signed by one William Akwasi Appiah, BNI Director, was cooked with a view to embarrassing the president.