You are here: HomeNews2018 04 11Article 642291

General News of Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Source: XYZ

Cash-for-Seat Committee was a waste of time – Ameyaw Cheremeh

The chairperson of the ad-hoc committee that was tasked to investigate the Trades and Industry Ministry over allegations of extortion from some expatriate business entities has disclosed that the work of the committee wasted the time of Ghanaians.

Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sunyani East, could not point out the importance of the parliamentary committee because to him, there was nothing untoward to enquire.

He made the revelation on Penpen, a political talk show on Power 97.9 FM in Accra Monday evening.

The Majority Chief Whip observed that even before the speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye ordered for the setting up of the bi-partisan committee to commence hearing into the case that was triggered by the Minority in Parliament, he knew Ghanaians’ time was going to be wasted thanks to the Minority.

The Minority in parliament, led by NDC MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak and North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa sent to the floor of the House that the Trade Ministry had extorted monies to the tune of $100,000 from some expats ahead of the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) held in 2017 to sit closer to president Nana Akufo-Addo.

The NDC MPs who supported their allegations with intercepted documents to buttress their point succeeded in getting a five-member committee chaired by Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh to investigate the matter.



The committee met with accusers and witnesses including the Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyeremanteng; Victor Gbeho, Chairman of the Millennium Excellence Foundation; Ashim Morton, Founder and President of the Millennium Excellence Foundation which organised the event in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the committee cleared the Trades Ministry.

After three weeks of hearing, the committee’s report exonerated Trade Minister Alan Kyeremateng, while the Minority in its report also said the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF), organisers of the 2017 Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, selected companies which did not meet laid-down criteria for the awards.

But commenting on the work of the committee, Mr Ameyaw Cheremeh told King Nicholas, the host of the programme that but for the “hypocrisy of the Minority members of parliament, Ghanains’ time wouldn’t have been wasted.”

“I believe we wasted the nation’s time…We know the NDC is full of propaganda. Their case presented was propaganda, there was no merit in their claims,” he stated.



The MP said even when the committee was finishing its report from the findings, Dr Dominic ayine, a member of the Minority who was also on the committee had to desert the committee to put out a report which was different from what the five member committee had put together to present to the house.

“Dr Ayine played hide and seek with us till I got to know that the Minority had put up a different report. Because they knew what they were doing, he did not join us to complete the report. He said his electricity power had finished, his laptop had a problem and his phone had no network too,” Mr Ameyaw Cheremeh said.

The MP said for three days that the final report was being put together, Dr Ayine, who was to lead the Minority on the committee to help finish the final report was not available.

To him, the opposition NDC is desperate to propagate lies against the current government that is why contrary to Parliament’s standing orders, the Minority went ahead to prepare “a Minority report after the committee’s work.”

According to Mr Ameyaw, “seven or eight expatriate business entities appeared before the committee and testified that nobody forced them to pay monies to sit close to the president.”

He said Japan Motors, Interplast, Inesfly, and Cosmos Energy officials said they were happy they were invited to participate in the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA). He also said the report captured all the proceedings of the committee’s sitting.

The Majority chief whip further assured that the Akufo-Addo government is poised to transform Ghana and will not be distracted by the incessant circulation of propaganda from the NDC as they (NPP) focus on developing Ghana.



Background

The claim was first made by Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, in December 2017, on the back of a leaked document, and alleged that the Trade Ministry had extorted monies from some expatriates to the tune of $100,000 to sit close to the President.

He argued on the floor that the monies were not approved by Parliament said it could also not be accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the Ministry’s accounts.

The Trade Ministry in a statement said it did not play any role in determining prices for seats at the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA), and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation, the award organisers.

The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a query letter on Wednesday, December 20,2017, asked the Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Alan Kyeremateng to explain circumstances that led to financial demands from the expatriate business community.

The Ministry after the query from the President stated that an amount of GHc 2,667,215 was realised from the event.

The president subsequently cleared Mr. Kyeremateng of any wrong doing regarding the controversial matter.

In a statement signed by Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, on Thursday, December 21,2017 said “the facts, as reported to the president, do not disclose any wrongdoing on the part of the Minister or any government official.”

The exoneration then led to the minority filing a motion in parliament to set up the committee which investigated the claims.