The Ministry of Trade and Industry has vehemently denied claims that foreigners were made to pay as high as $25,000 to be seated close to President Nana Akufo-Addo at an event.
It is being circulated in the media that the incident took place at the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) organised by Millennium Excellence Foundation.
The Trade Ministry in a statement issued by the Communications Unit on Saturday called the allegations baseless.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry has learnt with disdain the baseless allegations flying in the media (including social media platforms) that the Ministry charged expatriates between 25,000 and 100,000 dollars to offer them seats close to the President at the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA).”
The ministry said the event, which is the “first of its kind in Africa” was held in partnership with the Foundation. The awards recognized and rewarded the contributions of the expatriate and naturalised expatriate community to the socio-economic advancement of the country over the decades.
The Ministry, the statement said, signed an MoU with the Foundation that spelt out the roles of both parties. Resource mobilisation to ensure that the event was organised at no cost to the taxpayer was the sole responsibility of the Foundation, it said.
“As a serious and experienced event organiser, the Foundation came up with a sponsorship programme as would be done by any serious-minded event organiser which included series of fundraising dinners and sponsorship packages,” the statement asserted.
“Non-mischievous minds with a basic knowledge of event organisation will know that as is the case with all fundraising activities, there are different sponsorship categories and packages with their attendant benefits. As to how one chooses to categorise them (whether presidential circle or platinum down to the least package) is only a matter of semantics, nomenclature and ingenuity,” the statement signed by Boakye-Boateng Prince, Team Leader, Communications and Advocacy at the Ministry who is also the Spokesperson to the Awards Committee said.
“It is very worrying for people who are expected to know better (especially if some happen to be leading members of the august House of Parliament) to conveniently join the streets wagon in pursuit of petty partisan parochial interests to churn out deliberate falsehood to perpetuate the fallacy that access to the President has to be secured with financial inducements”
It further stated that the Ministry only wrote letters to introduce the Millennium Excellence Foundation to sponsors and solicited support whilst the Foundation prepared the sponsorship package kits and presented it to potential sponsors at a later date.
“Without any show of disrespect or attempt to tag individuals and organisations as not being corporate responsible, on the so-called “for sale Presidential Table “ were the Award winning MD of Tigo/Airtel (Roshi Motman), Amar Hari (IPMC), Salem Kalmoni (Japan Motors), Ashok Mohinani (Polygroup), H.E. Jerry John Rawlings, Hon Alan Kyerematen, Amb. James Victor Gbeho, Hon Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, Mr. Yofi Grant of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Amb. Ashim Morton who did not pay a pesewa to be seated on the “for the highest bidder Presidential Table”.
“People who know or ought to know better should desist from mischief and propaganda and rather learn to commend individuals and institutions that come up with initiatives such as the GEBA that has the capacity to boost the country’s FDIs.”
The statement said the allegations were investigated by a competent security agency.
“The GEBA has come to stay as an event to be held every other year to appreciate the contributions of the expatriate and naturalised expatriate community to the growth of the country. An investigative report by a competent security agency of the country has put to rest the spurious allegations that one has to pay his or her way to have access to the Presidency. Let no one attempt to resurrect a dead issue through GEBA”
By Isaac Essel |3news.com | Ghana