You are here: HomeNews2018 01 09Article 615600

General News of Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Source: XYZ

‘Cash for seat saga’: Investigative committee meets

A five-member Parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the ‘cash for seat close to the President’ at the recently held Expatriate Business Companies award is expected to present its report within two weeks.

The committee, according to sources, met for the first time on Monday, January 8, 2018, to discuss their terms of reference and how the investigations will be done before the January 24 deadline.

The Committee, chaired by Majority Chief Whip and MP for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, was established after a failed attempt by the Majority to throw out the motion during an emergency sitting last Friday.

Other members are Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, an Economist and MP for New Juaben South, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah who is the MP for Adentan, Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi and Dominic Ayine, MP for Bolgatanga East.

Last Friday, the Speaker was compelled to suspend sitting for 30 minutes when Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak took on Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu when he suggested the petition was not signed.

The terms of reference has not been made public. It’s unlikely the Committee hearings will be broadcast live and its unclear if the media will be allowed.

Background

The Trade and Industry Ministry was accused in December 2017 of extorting monies from expatriate business owners as much as $100,000 to sit close to the president at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA).

The claim was first made by NDC MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak in Parliament on the back of a leaked document that business owners were charged by the Ministry to share a table with the president at the award ceremony.



The Trade Ministry has since explained it is not responsible for the supposed charges and explained that the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards, GEBA, was the brainchild of the Millennium Excellence Foundation which was responsible all activities of the programme.

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

However, the president subsequently cleared Mr. Kyeremateng of any wrongdoing 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.

Minority Wants Live Telecast

Ahead of the sitting, the Minority is still pursuing its call for the live telecast of investigations by the ad hoc committee.

The Minority insists the issue involved the Presidency and since Ghanaians are anxious, they should be offered the opportunity to closely follow proceedings to draw their own conclusions.

Ahead of that XYZ News has been digging for more reaction among MPs from both sides. MP for Adaklu, Kwame Agbodza who spoke to Kofi Oppong Asamoah still holds the position of the Minority that the process must be transparent enough.

“They claimed that nothing went wrong but now the opportunity is presented to prove that nothing went wrong, why don’t want a live telecast? It’s an issue of a national concern. In any case, we have been advocating that parliamentary committees should sit in public os necessary. I think the entire country is looking forward to see exactly what the details of this particular cash for seat scandal,” he stated.

But the MP for Kpandai and First Deputy Majority Whip, Mathew Nyindam, however rubbished those assertions, explaining to XYZ News that the process could have been blocked if government had something to hide.

He said though the Minority’s motion had irregularities “the Speaker still went ahead and asked them to do some amendments and come, they refused to do but the Speaker still went ahead and constituted the committee.”