The five-member ad-hoc Committee constituted by Parliament to investigate the alleged extortion of expatriates who participated in the December 2017 Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA) will begin public sittings on the matter today [Thursday].
The members of the Committee previously sat on Monday to set out the modalities for their work.
[contextly_sidebar id=”66QKOPZCAbSrNDjUeWQBa3NQfl30haA0″]The Committee’s sessions will be open to the public, with the members of the Minority who had called for the probe into the matter, the Ministry of Trade and other parties expected to give testimony.
‘Terms of reference’
The Minority had expressed concerns after Parliament’s emergency sitting last week that the terms of reference for the Committee had not been spelt out by the Speaker when it was convened.
But the Member of Parliament for Adenta and a member of the Committee, Yaw Buaben Asamoah, indicated that the Committee was working with clearly defined terms of reference which had originated from the motion submitted by the Minority themselves.
The Committee is expected to submit its report to the House “as soon as possible, one day after our recall which is 24th [January 2018].”
The Committee has three members of the Majority namely Ameyaw Kyeremeh, Majority Chief Whip, who will Chair the Committee, Dr. Assibey Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, and Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, MP for Adentan.
On the Minority side are James Klutsey Avedzie, Deputy Minority Leader, and Dominic Ayine, the MP for Bolgatanga East.
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, first made the extortion 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.
The issue was further reinforced by Mr. Ablakwa, who suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry initially 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.
But the Ministry after an order from the President to probe the matter clarified that an amount of GHc 2,667,215 was realized from the event.
The organizers of the Awards had also explained that no one paid to sit close to the President and that the amount raised was gotten from sponsorship through a fundraising at the event.