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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Ministers Shot Down


Alhaji Mohammad MumuniPresident John Evans Atta Mills may be forced to nominate fresh persons to replace his one-time running mate, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni (Foreign Affairs) and Sherry Hanny Ayitey (Environment, Science and Technology), as their nominations have hit a snag.

DAILY GUIDE has gathered that although there might be some obvious reasons for last Saturday’s vetting fiasco, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni and Ms. Sherry Ayitey were the prime suspects for stalling the process.

Sources said some members of the Appointments Committee, especially the Minority side, were strongly opposed to the appearance of the two nominees before the Committee because both have allegedly been implicated in various audit reports.

Last Saturday, the vetting of five nominees, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister Designate for Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration; Joe Gidisu, Roads & Highways; Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, Energy; Ms. Sherry Ayitey, Environment, Science & Technology and Alhaji Collins Dauda, Lands & Natural Resources was aborted for unknown reasons, leaving their sympathizers and supporters who had thronged the Parliament House in limbo.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that vetting of the nominees had been scuttled as a result of disagreements among members of the Appointments Committee over cases hanging on the necks of Alhaji Mumuni and Ms. Sherry Ayitey.  

The Minority, according to sources, argued that Alhaji Mumuni has been in court over a 2004 audit report, which accuses him of causing financial loss of billions of old Ghana cedis to the state and that it would be very difficult if not impossible to ask questions on issues that are still pending in court. Members said they do not want to open themselves up for contempt.

Ms. Ayitey on the other hand has allegedly been implicated together with others by the Auditor-General in the GIHOC Nsawam Cannery acquisition by the 31st December Women’s Movement headed by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.

Ms Ayitey, who is the Treasurer of the 31st DWM, was among the suspects put before court on the matter until the immediate past government decided to discontinue the case.
However, the audit report has not been set aside, prompting the vetting committee to take a second look at it.

A pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) had taken issue with the suitability of the two individuals to occupy ministerial positions in view of the damning reports against them.  

Apart from the court issues, the Minority, DAILY GUIDE learnt, also submitted that the audit reports on both nominees should be brought to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament for scrutiny before they could be vetted.

AFAG had petitioned the Appointments Committee not to approve Alhaji Mumuni because of the allegations.

According to AFAG, the audit report indicates that “through the gross negligence of Alhaji Mumuni, the state had lost a colossal 15 billion old cedis through his involvement with the NVTI alone; further Alhaji was found to have authorized the fraudulent release of amounts in excess of 19 billion cedis from the Consolidated Fund”.

The group argued that since Alhaji Mumuni had not been cleared of these allegations by the audit report, it would be wrong to vet and approve him as a minister of state.

It was gathered that the leadership of the Majority caucus in Parliament met with President Mills last Saturday over the crucial matters concerning the ministering nominees which were raised by the Minority.

Earlier, members of the Appointments Committee were locked up in a marathon meeting trying to reach a consensus over the contentious issues, leaving dozens of nosy, thirsty and hungry looking journalists on tenterhooks for more than six hours.

Chairman of the Appointments Committee and First Deputy Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho later announced that the Committee was in a meeting negotiating to build a consensus on the nominees so that they would stand the test of time when they are finally approved.

According to him, members of the Committee could reach a consensus on the vetting of the nominees and as a result the process had been postponed till today when the five nominees and an additional one, Hon. Mike Hammah, Minister Designate for Transport, will be vetted.

Sources close to the Appointments Committee told the DAILY GUIDE that today’s vetting might hit another snag, as it is not likely that all the issues would be resolved by the start of the Committee sitting.

It would be recalled that a similar audit report nearly caused one of President Kufuor’s nominees, Kenwuud Nuworsu his job as Deputy Minister for Manpower Development, Youth and Employment.

The Minority group of the then Appointments Committee chaired by Hon. Freddie Blay, former First Deputy Speaker, opposed the vetting of Mr. Nuworsu, arguing that the Committee should get the full facts of the audit report for clearance before he was vetted, which was subsequently done.

By Awudu Mahama

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