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General News of Thursday, 3 May 2007

Source: Daily Guide

I’m still at post - Tarzan

Speculations are rife that the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, Charles Wereko-Brobby has been yanked off from his position. Reports monitored in Accra yesterday indicated that the controversial Ghana @ 50 Secretariat boss was asked to close down the office, following poor handling of the events prior to the March 6, 2007 Golden Jubilee celebration.

However, in a swift reaction to the reports, Dr. Wereko-Brobby told Daily Guide that there was no iota of truth in the speculations, describing the reports as misleading.

“It is not true. I’m still at post,” he declared. The report suggested that President Kufuor ordered the closure of the Secretariat, to register his displeasure with the organisation of the jubilee events.

The President was reported to have personally intervened to get certain aspects of the preparations towards the Ghana @ 50 celebrations done. However, Dr. Wereko-Brobby who was at a loss as to the source of the media speculations was quick to point out that the misleading reports might be the handiwork of disgruntled former staff of the Secretariat.

According to him, he had started downsizing the staff of the Secretariat and that might not have gone down well with some of the affected people. According to the Ghana @ 50 CEO, too many hands were doing nothing after the March 6 event, necessitating the lay-off of staff. He explained that none of the people working at the Secretariat, including himself was a full-time staff.

“Everybody was working on contract,” he said. He indicated that by the end of July, every contract would come to an end. “It is not a directive, but only normal to cut our clothes according to our size.” Dr. Wereko Brobby noted that he had thought the Secretariat would play a vital role in other events especially the African Union (AU) Summit in July.

However, from the look of things, it had limited functions to play in the hosting of African leaders who would be attending the July AU Summit, he said. The Secretariat is supervising the provision of housing for the African leaders at La Wireless in Accra. The acquisition of the land for construction of VIP houses was greeted with protests from the land owners, the La Traditional Council, leading to the institution of a lawsuit against the state.

Dr Wereko-Brobby explained that activities at the Secretariat had dropped drastically by 60 to 70 percent, throwing up loafers who only came to the office to mark attendance. He dismissed the suggestion that he might be drafted to the CAN 2008 Secretariat.

“I am an engineer, not an event organizer,” he stressed, adding, “on 6th March, we delivered the product of which all Ghanaians were proud.”

On the demand that he should render an account of the Secretariat which had over $20 million to operate including the donations from corporate bodies, Dr. Wereko-Brobby said he as the chief executive had no account to render. According to him, he was hired as a consultant to operate the Secretariat, pointing out that it was misplaced for people to call on him to account for money given to the Secretariat.

It will be recalled that Dr. Wereko-Brobby turned down a request from Parliament asking him to present the account of the Secretariat even before the March 6 Golden Jubilee ceremony. He said the letter had been misdirected. It took the Chairman of the Ghana @ 50 Planning Committee, and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani to provide answers to questions from the parliamentarians.

The CEO however hinted that the accounts had been meticulously prepared, to the last new Ghana pesewa. He said 101 houses the Secretariat was constructing were progressing and that they would be ready early enough to house the AU leaders. Dr. Wereko-Brobby indicated also that all the required vehicles purchased for the jubilee/AU Summit are in. The Ghana @ 50 Secretariat boss denied media reports that the Secretariat was indebted to the Car Rentals Association of Ghana (CRAG).

According to him, the Secretariat did not deal with CRAG, but individual car rental services and therefore the association could not be speaking for the individuals. He indicated that the individuals should rather address their grievances to the Secretariat instead of the media. “I don’t understand the agitation by the association,” he pointed out.

No official at the Castle was immediately available to comment on the issue yesterday.

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