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Muntaka’s Man Blames Mills


Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka MubarakADIM ODOOM, the principal accountant and whistle blower who leveled allegations of impropriety against the former Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, yesterday took the blame to the doorstep of President John Evans Atta Millls, accusing him of being the brain behind his interdiction when he should have been protected him from victimization.

At the Fast Track High Court in Accra where the Principal Accountant at the Ministry of Youth and Sports is seeking a review of his interdiction by the head of the Civil Service based on the suggestion of the President, Godfred Yeboah Dame, counsel for the applicant, moved the application for the judicial review.

Mr. Dame told the court presided  over by Mrs. Novisi Aryene that the call of the President for appropriate sanctions against the applicant based on the report of the committee which investigated activities of the then Minister amounted to victimization under the Whistle Blowers Act.

Counsel for the accountant noted the President should have referred the matter to the head of the Civil Service Council, which is the disciplinary body of the service, and noted that even if he (the President) had the power to make any decision on the fate of his client, he should have acted with the Civil Service Act.

He told the court that in June 14 2009, certain allegations of impropriety were leveled against the then Minister for Youth and Sports, based on which a committee instituted by the National Security was set up to look into the matter.

Counsel for the applicant said although no allegations were leveled against the accountant, the head of the civil service directed him to proceed on leave pending investigations, so he had to comply with the directives even though he was not due for leave.

According to him, at the committee meeting to investigate the allegations against the then minister, his client was called to appear but was denied right to any legal representation and was  not even given the opportunity to hear the testimony of Hon. Muntaka, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase.

He said the President, after receiving the report, went ahead to call for disciplinary measures to be taken against him based on the recommendation of the report.

The lawyer observed that that on July 7, 2009 the accountant received a letter from the head of Civil Service regarding a committee to be set to determine the sanctions to be applied against him.

He explained that the applicant is consequently surviving on half of his salary after the interdiction, while awaiting further disciplinary measures. He noted that Mr. Odoom was only invited as a witness in the case.

Elipklim Agbemava, a state attorney, opposed the application on grounds that it was premature and said he did not know who communicated to the accountant that he was a witness.

He said the committee was a fact finding one, and that in the Whistle Blowers Act all those who have complaints are expected to report to institutions like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), among others; but the applicant did not make any complaint to any of the institutions mentioned in the act.

The state attorney said the applicant instead went and told persons outside the lists the Act states, adding that he could not be said to be a whistle blower since his action was influenced by malice.

He also noted that if he was indeed a whistle blower, he should have sought redress from places like CHRAJ, not the court.

According to him, the accountant could not even substantiate the transfer of the alleged amounts when he appeared before the committee, and said since those allegations could not be established verbally he should have captured them in his book as an accountant.

He noted that whistle blowing was not an opportunity to make allegations to ruin other people’s reputations without reason, adding that he had, out of malice, destroyed the reputation of Hon. Muntaka.

He observed that the applicant would be allowed to return to his post if he is found to be innocent after the findings of the Civil Service Committee.

Mr. Dame told the court that the matter was earlier reported CHRAJ, but because the state did not add that in its statement of defence they chose not to add it to theirs. They then sought the permission of the court to include it in their case.

The case has been adjourned to November 23, 2009.       

By Fidelia Achama

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