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General News of Thursday, 11 January 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Cash for seat probe: Ablakwa charges Trade Ministry to explain 'curious payments'

The North Tongu MP has charged the Trades Ministry to explain some "curious payments" made by the expatriate business community in the controversial cash-for-seat-scandal.

Presenting his case before a parliamentary committee set up to probe the scandal, Samuel Okudzeto Ablawkwa, questioned how a private event organiser, Millennium Excellence Foundation, had access to a room at the Trades Ministry.

“They [Millennium Excellence Foundation] took over Room 308 and asked the expatriate business community to send their cheques there.

“How is it possible that this account, which the cheque was lodged into was operated by the financial controller and chief director of the Trade Ministry?”

According to him, Prince Boakye Boateng, the Communications Director at the Trades Ministry is reported to have confirmed this during an interview on Starr FM, an Accra-based radio station.

He also stated that the Chairman of Interplast Group of Companies confirmed paying $100,000 to sit close to President Akufo-Addo.

According to the former Deputy Education Minister, a letter by the organisers of the ball asking the expatriate business community to send information to the Trades Ministry, also raises a lot of questions.

“I find it curious that government is saying it knows nothing about such a directive and it is blaming mischievous minds for piecing such an information together,” he said.

He pointed to paragraph six of a letter dated December 21, 2017, by the Ministry which he said presents another contradiction which spoke about auditing funds realized from the event.

“Mr Chairman, the Deputy Minister of Trade, Carlos Ahenkorah had told Joy FM they only served as a conduit and all monies received was sent to the Millennium Excellence Foundation,” he said.

This, he added needs to be explained to the taxpayer.

He is convinced the Minority in Parliament finds themselves in a very good company with the support of some anti-corruption agencies and others like former President J.J Rawlings, P.C Appiah Ofori, Kenedy Agyapong who have all condemned the cash for seat scandal.