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General News of Friday, 23 January 2009

Source: Daily Graphic

Ghana@50 Cost US$60m

It has now been established that the country spent US$60 million (GH¢60,179,481) in celebrating its 50th anniversary (Ghana@50) in 2007.

In addition, the nation still owes huge sums of money to Fairilopp Company, the motor firm which imported luxury vehicles for use during the celebration.

Sources within the government's transition team disclosed to the Daily Graphic that five accounts, four at Prudential Bank and one at the Bank of Ghana, were operated by the authorities in the name of the project.

They said in view of the debt, the motor company had demanded that a certain number of cars should be returned to it to cover the amount owed by the state.

"The state paid only 50 per cent of the total cost of the vehicles purchased by the motor firm and had since defaulted" the sources told the Daily Graphic.

According to the sources, when Dr Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby, the Chief Executive Officer {CEO) of the project, appeared before the committee, he indicated that he had reported all transactions on the project directly to the former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, who was the supervising Minister for the Ghana@50 celebrations.

The sources added that Dr Wereko-Brobby said he acted on behalf of the former Minister of Presidential Affairs at the project secretariat and for that matter if the committee wanted further explanations on some of the issues which did not go down well with it, it should direct them at the former Chief of Staff.

They added that when the Auditor-General appeared before the committee, he denied knowledge of the estimates on the project, since his outfit did not have a report on them.

He, therefore, pleaded with the members to appear before them again next Monday, by which time he would have collected bits and pieces on the matter to prepare an interim report.

The sources gave the breakdown of the revenue and expenditure of the project as: Release from Government of Ghana Treasury, GH¢34,596,013; Funds from African Union Consortium, GH¢12,790,000 and Overdraft Facility from the Prudential Bank, GH¢1,226,645.

Others were: Direct Payment from the Bank of Ghana to Jospong Company Limited, GH¢5,585,000; Proceeds from hiring of vehicles, GH¢773, 236, 75; Sale of Land, GH¢1,028,485 and Sale of Souvenirs GH¢318,417.

The rest were: Proceeds from Sponsorship, GH¢1,882,530; Sale of Vehicles, GH¢1,881,602, and Sale of Household Furnishing Items, GH¢97,572.

The sources said another irony of the situation was that while GH¢12 million was raised and used for the procurement of Jubilee Souvenirs, only GH¢318,417 was realized as proceeds from the sale of those items.