Ad hoc committee dismisses allegation against Trade Ministry

The five-member ad hoc committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament to look into extortion claims against the Ministry of Trade and Industry has virtually dismissed the motion brought to parliament by Asawase Member Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed. The motion prayed the Speaker, Aaron Mike Oquaye, to investigate payments between $25,000 and $100,000 collected by organisers of the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) from expatriate business owners to sit close to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. But according to the committee, there is no merit in the allegation levelled against the Ministry and the Foundation, whose representatives were in the public gallery of Parliament on Tuesday. These were contained in the committee’s final report laid before Parliament on Tuesday. “The Committee, after the hearings and the analysis and evaluation of the evidence adduced before it has come to the conclusion that there is no merit in the allegations levelled against the Ministry of Trade and Industry as contained in the motion and which culminated in the setting up of the Special Committee,” concluded the committee’s report. Aside Alhaji Muntaka and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who seconded the motion in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, MEF President Ashim Morton, MEF Board Chairman Ambassador Victor Gbeho, and the Controller and Accountant General, Eugene Asante Ofosuhene, were among the persons who appeared before the committee. Representatives of the expatriate business were heard in camera after a no-show on the first agreed date of appearance. Before the committee presented its report – postponed twice – the Minority members issued a 33-page report faulting the Ministry of Trade and Industry. James Klutse Avedzi and Dr Dominic Ayine accused the Ministry of engaging in unethical violations “by allowing its credibility as a public agency to be used to amass profit for a private non-profit organization which it cannot hold to public standards of accountability as well as by using the name of the President of the Republic as a means to make such profit”. They also accused MEF of engaging in “deceitful practices in the process of the organization of the awards event by selecting companies for awards even when the companies had not submitted information meeting the designed criteria and also forged documents meant to deceive the Committee and Parliament as a whole”.

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READ: Ashim Morton forged documents; Trade Ministry used Prez for profit – Minority But the real report from the bi-partisan committee – chaired by Sunyani East MP Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh – cleared the Ministry of any wrongdoing. By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana ]]>