09.05.2005 General News

I'm Kufuor's Scapegoat & Scrifical Lamb – Asante

By jfm
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The Executive Secretary of the Ghana Energy Commission, Kofi Asante has described his removal from office as unreasonable, uncalled for and unprecedented.

A May 4 directive from the Energy Minister Professor Mike Oquaye, asked Mr. Asante and the chairman of the commission, Mamponghene Nana Osei Bonsu II to step aside due to allegations of misappropriation against top personnel.

The order was also to make way for an independent enquiry and audit into a wide range of issues arising at the commission.

But Mr. Asante contends his dismissal is an act of vilification by the president and the government for public criticisms of the bad deal the administration reached with the World Bank on the West Africa Gas pipeline project.

He believes his criticisms of the poor negotiations done by the administration in the West African Gas pipeline project largely accounts for his dismissal and what he considers his public humiliation.

“I have been made not only a scapegoat but a sacrificial lamb for some of the difficult cases every government face. In my view the executive was not happy about the pointers I raised in the essay I wrote on the West African Gas Pipeline Project that Ghana had not done the proper negotiations,” he says.

The letter asking Mr. Asante to proceed on leave was preceded by a litany of allegations in the Ghanaian Chronicle and the Dispatch Newspapers which raised issue with the procurement of 2 land cruiser vehicles valued at ¢650 million each for himself and the chairman, Nana Osei Bonsu II.

Mr. Asante told JOY News he was instructed by the Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpianim to buy the four-wheel drive for the chairman.

“I was instructed by the Chief of Staff and Presidential Affairs, Mr. Kwadwo Mpianim that the chairman be given a vehicle. In spite of that directive I took the request to the commission which approved it,” he says.

Asked what role the chief of staff had at the commission to make such requests, Mr. Asante says “ It's a question that he must try to answer, but the role he plays is that under the current arrangement the chief of staff presides over a number of things including what happens at the energy commission.”

He denied allegations that he had personally spent $100 million on trips abroad explaining that the amount covered travel for 10 people within the commission.

He has responded to the letter which he says was sent him at midnight on Friday and it is likely he will resign by Wednesday no matter the outcome of an impending meeting with the energy minister on the matter.

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