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General News of Thursday, 20 August 2009

Source: The catatlyst

Kwamena Bartels' Turn Soon

Very soon, Mr Kwamena Bartels a former Minister in the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, will be hauled by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to answer pertinent questions bordering on his term in office, an intelligence source has told The Catalyst.

This paper’s information has it that Mr Kwamena Bartels will be required to answer questions on wide ranging issues including a government fund released to companies owned by his daughters and sons-in-law, when he was head of Private Sector Development in the NPP government. Some GH¢2 billion was said to be involved.

The Enquirer newspaper carried extensive reports on how Mr. Bartels allegedly hijacked a chunk of a US government fund, meant for the private sector under the Trade and Investment Reform Program, for companies belonging to two of his daughters and their husbands called Platinum Technologies Ltd and Asbax Ghana Ltd. When he was removed from office as Minister of the Interior in the NPP government, there were calls for investigations into his conduct as Minister of state. One of those calls came from the Convention People's Party (CPP) which hailed the decision to kick Mr. Kwamena Bartels out of government, and called for investigations into his conduct as a Minister. “With his dismissal from office, we urge President John Agyekum Kufuor to do the next logical thing and institute an investigation into allegations that Mr. Bartels improperly influenced the disbursements of state-guaranteed loans to his family members,” the CPP stated in a statement to the media on the latest cabinet reshuffle.

But as usual, the then President John Agyekum Kufuor ignored these calls and Mr. Bartels remained uninvestigated until the NPP was rejected at the polls in 2008 by the people of Ghana, which ushered in the Mills-led NDC government. The statement signed by Mr. Kosi Dedey, CPP Publicity Chairman, described the removal of Mr. Bartels as “encouraging” saying, “the former Minister's actions and words over the years were an embarrassment to the Government and his party, the NPP.”

With the advent of the Mills-led NDC government, which promised to fight corruption without fear or favour, a number of former ministers in the erstwhile NPP government have been invited by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to answer questions regarding their tenure.

Former Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, former Minister of Information, Mr Asamoah Boateng and his Deputy, Mr Frank Agyekum, former Minister of Justice Paapa Owusu Ankoma and others have had their turn at the BNI.

Among them, Mr. Asamoah Boateng and Mr Frank Agyekum have already been charged severally before an Accra Fast Track High Court.

Mr Bartels is yet to be invited by the BNI to assist the state investigative body unravel the mystery surrounding some decisions he took whiles in office because the new government has taken its time in studying the documents, The Catalyst has leant.

According to our source, Mr Kwamena Bartels who first headed the Private Sector before being reshuffled as sector minister to ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Information and the Interior, and thereafter removed from the government by then President Kufuor for undisclosed reasons.

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