Only Bi-partisan Committee Can Probe $100k--NDC
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), is proposing the setting up of a bipartisan committee to look into the Trade Ministry’s alleged billing of expatriates at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA).
The Minority in Parliament had alleged that, the ministry charged expatriates between 25,000 and 100,000 dollars, to offer them seats close to the President at the ceremony held on December 8.
Speaking to Citi News on the sidelines of the party's press conference today, Thursday, a Deputy National Communications Director for the NDC, Fred Agbenyo, insisted that the Akufo-Addo administration cannot be trusted to conduct a credible probe and punish culprits.
“The presidency over the period, has not demonstrated any commitment to investigate issues and get to the bottom of it. We cannot trust the presidency at this point that they can do any independent and objective work; they will definitely try and do a cover up.”
He noted that Parliament could be a viable resort in investigating the matter satisfactorily.
“The only group that can bring the facts out and bring everything to bear will be a by-partisan investigative body. So I am equally on Parliament that they should set up a by-partisan committee on the issue, because the Minority have already noted that they even have evidence as pert receipts that were issued to some of these companies, and can even submit it to that particular committee. Maybe for the integrity of the company, they may not want to put it in the public domain for now, but at the committee level, they will be able to adduce that evidence as monies that have been collected,” he added.
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, first made the allegation in Parliament.
Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry's accounts.
There issue has further been reinforced by Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who had suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has already dissociated itself from these allegations.
The Trade Ministry, in a statement, said it played no role in determining prices for seats at the event, and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
We can prove Trade Ministry extortion claims
The Minority in Parliament has also said they are ready to appear before any investigative body to provide evidence of extortion in the allegations.
Ablakwa in a Citi News interview said they ready to appear before “any investigative body that wants to take this matter up seriously and over there, we will send the receipts and all the other information that we have.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Carlos Ahenkorah, has subsequently apologized for his outburst.
By: Godwin A. Allotey & Kojo Agyeman/citifmonline.com/Ghana
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