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Nuworsu faces tough vetting in Parliament
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General News of Friday, 27 July 2007

Source: GNA

Nuworsu faces tough vetting in Parliament

Accra, July 27, GNA - Mr. Emmanuel Ken-Wuud Nuworsu, Minister-designate of Manpower, Youth and Employment, on Thursday faced a tough time at the ongoing vetting of the President's nominees for ministerial positions.

Mr. Nuworsu first had to contend with allegations of sexual misconduct with a subordinate, which he denied and challenged those making the allegations to prove their case in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Asked if he had ever met the husband of the lady in question, Mr Nuworsu said: "Mr Chairman, there is no truth in the allegation. I have no idea about the case and I can say that I have never met the man." He also denied ever being in a meeting with the lady, her husband and a pastor aimed at resolving the rift between them. He said the allegations came up a few years ago and it was reported to the Bureau of National Investigations.

"I am surprised that this has been brought before this committee. But if they have any evidence, they should bring it out. My conscience is clear."

Mr. Nuworsu said he had also not sighted any petition from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) requesting him to answer questions on the matter.

He described the publication of his alleged relationship with a married woman as "a vicious publication".

Questions which came mainly from Minority party members also centred on allegations of financial impropriety and queries from CHRAJ as well as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah (NDC- Ningo-Prampram), Dr Benjamin Kumbour (NDC-Lawra Nandom), Captain (Rtd) George Nfojoh (NDC-Ho Central) and Alhaji Muhammed Muntaka Mubarak (NDC Asawase) asked most of the questions.

According to the nominee, it was strange since he had responded to most of the requests from the named bodies.

Mr. Nuworsu said the Volta Region National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), for which he was the Regional Director, was asked to provide the response when the original was not found after the substantive officer at the Auditor-General's Department had been moved. He denied that he had blocked money that was to go to some staff of NADMO arguing that he had to place a hold on an officer's salary, "not entitlements until an internal audit I had ordered was completed. When they finished their findings, his money was released to him". He said an order from CHRAJ for the Volta Region NADMO to pay one Colonel Dovlo was complied with immediately it was received. Mr Nuworsu said the Regional Ministers and District Chief Executives were by law mandated to receive relief items on behalf of victims, but Mr Kumbour said it was not true and Mr Nuworsu should provide the legal backing to the claim.

He could not provide it immediately and requested the Committee to give him time to provide it.

Mr Kumbour said: "I put it to you that there is no such law in the books."

However, Mr Freddie Blay, Chairman of the Vetting Committee, said: "We are not in a court, we are not in a court, member, shall we allow the nominee to have time and respond to the matter?" Mr Nuworsu said allegations that various sums of money including 547 million cedis and car covers could not be located were false even though he admitted that he had not received letters from the SFO on the case.

He also said the case was being politicised just because he is a New Patriotic Party regional Chairman.

Mr Abraham Ossei Aidooh, Deputy Majority Leader, who was to be vetted for the position of Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs had the easiest task as he spent the shortest time before the committee.

After taking the oath, he was welcomed by the Chairman of the Committee and told to go since the Committee believes in his competence and experience for the job of Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. Next was Mr Ofosu Asamoah, Minister-designate for the Eastern Region who said the Afram Plains was a major area that must be tackled and would be a project on his heart. "I will work closely with my boss, the regional Minister to make the plains accessible and make farming worthwhile," the nominee, who is the NPP MP for Kade.

He said farming in the area was not sustainable and he would work to bring the changes required. Mr Asamoah condemned the surge in illegal mining "galamsey" and said the practice must be halted to make mining profitable, safe and healthy for the youth. He also agreed with members who said it would be prudent to have concessions with lower grades place for the youth to do their mining.

The Minister-designate mentioned tourism and development of the hospitality industry as major projects that would attract his attention. Mrs Agnes Asangalisa Chigabatia said she still had her eyes on becoming a running mate of a presidential candidate. "I see my appointment as deputy regional minister as the beginning of greater things to come. One must learn how to crawl before running and I see this appointment as a learning ground," she added. Mrs. Chigabatia condemned the practice of female genital mutilation and congratulated Parliament for outlawing it. She said she would be working harder than before to eliminate early marriages in her area, a practice she described as the main cause of the drift of a large number of females from the Region to become 'kayayee' (female porters) in urban areas. Other nominees who appeared before the committee were Mr Samuel Obodai, Deputy Minister-designate for Central Region and Mr Godfrey Bayon Tangu, Minister of State-designate at the Ministry of Transportation. 27 July 07

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