General News of Wednesday, 31 January 2018
The bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee probing the cash-for-seat saga is expected to present its report to Parliament later today [Wednesday].
The Committee had its mandate extended after it failed to meet the initial deadline of 24th January.
The five-member Committee was set up on the 5th of January, after an urgent sitting of Parliament, where Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, and North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, alleged that expatriates businessmen were made to pay to sit close to the President during the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards ceremony.
The Committee held four public hearings and a few in-camera sessions that featured all parties named in the allegation, and those who made the allegation.
MP for Adenta, Yaw Buaben Asamoah, who speaks for the Committee, told Citi News that they have gathered enough information to allow them to present a fair and accurate report to the House.
“All has come to an end we are grateful to God that we appear to have collected sufficient information. The Committee will now to go the backroom, sit down and sift through the evidence and go through the business of report and we hope to meet the deadline” he said.
Ghana may lose investors over cash-for-seat probe
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, expressed fears that the ‘cash for seat’ scandal could threaten Ghana’s attempts to mobilize investments from the international community.
In his concluding statement when he appeared before the committee probing the matter, Mr. Kyerematen said Ghana’s reputation risked incurring serious damage because of the allegations that his Ministry charged expatriates to sit by the President at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) in December 2017.
Background of “cash for seat” saga
The Ministry of Trade, which partnered the event organizers, Millennium Excellence Foundation, is alleged to have charged between $25,000 and $100,000, to enable expatriates to sit close to the President at the awards ceremony.
The allegation was first made by the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak in Parliament in December 2017.
Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards 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 allegation 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 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 GHc2, 667,215 was realized from the event. This was made known only after the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had asked the Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen, to investigate the matter and report to him.
The organizers of the Awards had also explained that no one paid to sit close to the President, and that the amount was raised from sponsorship through a fundraising at the event.
Parliament subsequently formed a five-member bi-partisan committee to investigate the matter.
Source: Ghanaweb news