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General News of Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Cash-for-seat probe would never happen under Mahama - Jinapor

Deputy Chief of Staff Abu Jinapor says it is evidence of the government's high transparency ratings that a bipartisan probe has been instituted into allegations, the presidency was used for profiteering.

He said on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Wednesday, the probe which is telecast live shows the government has nothing to hide from the Ghanaian public.

The politician pointed out the probe would never have happened under the previous government of President John Mahama.

"In the four years of President Mahama's administration, not a single bi-partisan probe took place," despite several scandals, he said.

But in about a year into the Akufo-Addo government, two parliamentary probes have occurred.

The first probe was into bribery allegations levelled by some Minority National Democratic Congress MPs who claimed a ministerial nominee, Boakye Agarko, had paid monies to have his nomination approved after a turbulent vetting process.

In the latest probe, a private event organiser, Millennium Excellence Foundation asked potential sponsors to pay $100,000 to gain proximity to the special guest at an expatriate awards dinner, President Akufo-Addo.

The Foundation partnered the Ministry of Trade and Industry which collected the monies from sponsors. The ministry and the Foundation have denied allegations seats were sold to business leaders to have access to the President.

The President expressed satisfaction no wrong was done but days later an NDC Minority motion tabled in Parliament called for a bipartisan probe into the issues.

But the Deputy Chief of Staff observed that "when people are unsettled even when you believe those allegations are spurious you allow investigations", he said.

He said in the Ford gift saga, one of the biggest scandals under Mahama, a similar request for a probe by the then NPP Minority was "torpedoed" the NDC Majority then who now constitute the Minority and spearheaded the process for the current probe.

In the Ford gift saga, a luxury Ford Expedition was given to the president by a Burkinabe contractor. The Minority then filed a motion calling for a bi-partisan probe but the motion was arrested even before it was debated.

It was anticipated that NPP Minority would follow that example in the instant case but House Speaker Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye, after a rather rancorous debate on the motion filed by Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, announced the establishment of a five-member committee to look into the allegations.

Abu Jinapor pointed out that despite the transparency of the Akufo-Addo government, there is a desperate attempt to stigmatise the government of corruption even without a basis.

He stressed the president's commitment to fighting corruption remains unflinching.