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10.05.2005 General News

Energy Commission chief mounts defence

By Chronicle
Energy Commission chief mounts defence
... Oquaye is out of line, he says, but Mike says that's bull ... Accra, May 10, Chronicle -- The embattled Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, Mr. Kofi Asante, has questioned the basis for the Minister of Energy, Professor Mike Oquaye, asking him to go home, since he had not been given an opportunity to respond to the charges against him, nor has the minister followed due process.
Swift reply to the putsch Chronicle intelligence gathered that Mr. Asante, in a swift response to the Energy Minister, Prof. Oquaye's letter directing him to step aside, is contesting the legal mandate of the minister to remove him or the chairman, without dissolving the entire Commission since the Statute establishing it prescribes collective responsibility.
He is challenging also the capacities of both Professor A. K. Addae and Dr. A. K. Ofosu-Ahenkorah, to act as Chairman and Executive Secretary, respectively, without being properly commissioned as such.
The Chronicle can reveal that some of the members of the current Board were part of the previous Board that had Mr. Kofi Asante-Okai, currently the External Affairs Manager for the West Africa Gas Pipeline project, as Executive Secretary.
That board had resigned en mass, before being re-constituted for Mr. Kofi Asante to take over.
Mr. Asante had said in radio interviews that the Commission is not like a department under the ministry, since it was established by a statute, and considered it unfortunate that action would be taken on false allegations without due process.
In two separate radio interviews yesterday morning on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme, hosted by Kwame Sefa-Kayi and Joy FM's Super Morning Show, hosted by Komla Dumor, Mr. Asante said he had received the Energy Minister's letter, asking him to step aside in the dead of night on Friday last week, and had also written back to him.
Call for due process He said upon the setting up of the team, “you have to tell me the charges, if you like, the specifics of the allegations, the terms of reference of the board of enquiry, the time frame, and indicate the scope.”
He said none of these has been done and therefore he pointed it out to the minister in his response, adding that the minister's response would determine his next line of action.
Mr. Asante said, today, Ghana, “is a country of laws, rules and regulations, it is not a country of men and women and these regulations are buttressed by due process.”
... But Oquaye rebutts Reacting to Mr. Asante's demand to be informed of scope and purpose of any investigations or enquiry pertaining to his office, Prof. Oquaye said on Radio Univers yesterday evening, that it does not lie in the mouth of Mr. Asante to dictate the terms of how he should be treated, or who qualified to succeed him or not.
He pointed out that nobody has pronounced the Executive Secretary or the Chairman guilty of anything, but it would even be in their interest to step aside, and if found innocent, “that would lead to bigger morale strength.”
On the claim by Mr. Asante for the application of collective responsibility, the Energy Minister said, “collective responsibility in law, is a matter that is subjective and singular in its application.” He assured that the affected officials would be given a fair opportunity to react appropriately to the allegations against them.


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