The Embattled Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) for Sekondi-Takoradi, Captain Anthony Richard Cudjoe (rtd), who is being accused of swindling his own assembly off GH¢30,000, has admitted on Skyy Power FM, a local radio station, that he took money from the coffers of the assembly to travel to Columbia, but could not make the trip.
He, however, denied taking GH¢30,000 as quoted by The Chronicle, and that the actual amount he received was $1,400. When asked by the host whether he had returned the money, since he could not make the trip, he responded that whilst cooling off in Tema, he was also doing work for the assembly, and that the money had been used for other expenses. “Man must eat,” he told the radio station.
Earlier on Twin City Radio, an affiliate of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Captain Cudjoe denied ever receiving money from the assembly as travel allowance to Columbia, and threatened to sue this reporter and The Chronicle.
According to the MCE, he secured his America visa alright, but thought it was unreasonable to continue with the trip to Columbia, since the assignment was already coming to an end. “So you didn’t collect any money from the Assembly as your travel allowance?” the host of the morning show, Kwame Malcolm, asked him. “I did not collect any money from the Assembly,” the Mayor responded.
Mayor Cudjoe, however, told the host of the show that he realised that this reporter had an agenda to run his political career down. For that reason, he was dragging him and the paper to court for publishing falsehood about him. The Chronicle carried a front page banner yesterday, where it was reported that the Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi had taken GH¢30,000 travelling allowance from the assembly to travel to the South American state of Columbia, but failed to make the trip. He did not also return the money to the chest. Accompanying the Mayor for the trip were two other technocrats from the same STMA – Mr. Henry Owusu, Planning Officer and Jacob Ntiamoah, deputy Planning Officer.
The two officers had their air tickets and other expenses sponsored by the Ministry of Local Government and the UN Habitat, after managing to secure the relevant travel documents to attend the conference, which was held from April 4th to 11th this year, which was also attended by President Mahama. When The Chronicle confronted Captain Cudjoe in an interview and pointed out that he had over the period been staying in his residence in Tema, but claimed he had been in Columbia, he stammered.
Seconds later he admitted and confirmed that indeed, he could not make the trip to Columbia as rightly pointed out by this reporter. “But if you could not make the trip to Columbia, as you have admitted in this interview with me, why did you lie to the Assembly Executive Committee Meeting that your trip to Columbia was successful?” this reporter queried. Here, the Mayor began stammering again, only to ask this reporter, “What is your interest in this, Adams, as you call yourself?”
“So have you returned the travelling allowance you received from the Assembly, having being unsuccessful in your trip?” this reporter once again queried him. Here the Mayor denied collecting money from the Assembly. “I have not collected this sum. The figure is so incredible,” he said. “So how much was given to you by the Assembly as your travelling allowance, if my figure is wrong, as you claim?” The Chronicle pressed.
But, Captain Cudjoe would not answer the question, only for him to drop the line. He would also not answer as to whether he had returned the travelling allowance to the Assembly’s coffers. One of the technocrats, Mr. Henry Owusu, the Assembly Planning Officer who made it to the trip, would not confirm or deny whether the Mayor made it to Columbia.
He told this reporter in an interview that the Mayor encountered challenges in securing a visa. “So the Mayor did not make the trip to Columbia, for which he was given the money as his travelling allowance,” this reporter asked him, but the Planning Officer would not answer. “You leave that side out of your storyline please,” the Planning Officer advised this reporter.