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Opinions of Saturday, 7 February 2009

Columnist: Atta, Kwame

Shut Down the Osei Ameyaw appointed Sydney Consulate

The election of the new government (NDC) is an opportunity to review appointments in Ghana’s foreign missions over the past 8 years of the NPP administration. One office that needs an urgent audit and review is the Ghana Consulate in Sydney which is under the auspices of Mr. Graham Molloy, a confidante of the defeated NPP candidate for Asuogyaman who was also the former Consul General in Sydney. According to the Consulate website, “the Ghana Consul General in Sydney is the consular representative of the Ghana Government in Australia with jurisdiction in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.” But the re-opening of the Ghana High Commission in Canberra, Australia’s capital, makes a mockery of the representation claims by the Consulate in Sydney.

Media reports have indicated that Mr. Kofi Osei Ameyaw who was appointed by the Kufuor administration as the Consul General in Sydney, vacated the seat during the second term of the NPP administration to contest the Asuogyaman Seat. The former Deputy Minister who was an architect for the appointment of a Ghanaian in the position undermined the goodwill offered him by using his connections within the NPP to sideline qualified Ghanaians in Sydney to contest the position and rather recommended the appointment of his friend, Mr. Graham Molley, an Australian with no connections to Ghana whatsoever to be appointed the Consul General. Mr. Graham has used his position to undermine the authority of the Ghana High Commission in Canberra and treated Ghanaians with contempt by charging visa fees 40% higher than being charged by the Ghana High Commission in Canberra. Despite complaints to the Foreign Affairs Department, Mr. Osei Ameyaw has used his NPP credentials to shield Mr. Molley from scrutiny as he pockets over 40% of visa fees by providing two receipts to applicants ($60 for himself and $80 for the Ghana Government) as compared with a flat rate of $100 charged by the Ghana High Commission.

Readers will recall that Mr. Kofi Osei Ameyaw left Sydney after knowledge that he could not practice in New South Wales when found guilty with professional misconduct by the NSW Bar (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=101646)

While he claims that the matter has been set aside, there are no records at the NSW Bar that Mr. Osei Ameyaw has successfully appealed the guilty verdict. Fortunately for the people of Ghana, the Asuogyaman constituency kicked him out of Parliament after he failed to deliver on his promises to the constituents and after a series of scandals and missteps that caused embarrassment to the NPP government.

It is time for the NDC administration to audit the Sydney Consulate and retrieve monies collected on behalf of the Ghana Government before it shuts it down. It is also important to review the mechanisms used to appoint Mr. Molley to represent Ghana’s interests when he has no association to Ghana whatsoever. Unfortunately the NPP allowed individuals such as Osei Ameyaw to manipulate the protocols of appointments to foreign missions as if Ghana belonged to them. I call on President Mills and the NDC administration to quickly shut down this consulate and institute a thorough review of the appointment of Mr. Molley by calling on Mr. Osei Ameyaw and the ex-Foreign Minister to explain the circumstances of his appointment.