Officials of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, the entity responsible for organizing the alleged cash-for-seat Awards, will later today [Monday], face Parliament’s Adhoc Committee probing the matter.
They are expected to provide the committee with vital details of the structure of the Awards, and processes leading to the alleged collection of monies from participants.
[contextly_sidebar id=”GQKYQv0oRjlNH0nOiGNQwQ5wJqn2bzOY”]The 5-Member Committee chaired by Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, commenced its public hearings last Thursday by receiving submissions of the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, who first made the allegation, and North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
Muntaka defended his allegation before the Committee, but told Citi News that he felt some of the Committee members sought to discredit him by their style of questioning.
Okudzeto Ablakwa also firmly justified his claims that indeed the Ministry extorted monies from the expatriates. He called for an independent audit of the accounts used by the organizers of the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA) ceremony, which was held in December 2017.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanteng, subsequently took his turn before the committee on Friday.
He denied allegations of wrongdoing in his submissions. While admitting that some individuals paid monies in connection with the event, he insisted those amounts were not to enable them to sit close to the President.
He said people sat on the high table with the President without paying anything for it.
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, first made the extortion allegation in Parliament in December 2017.
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.]
The Minority moved a motion in Parliament for a further probe into the matter, and this forced the Speaker to recall MPs from their recess, leading to the formation of the Committee.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana