Mayor Refunds $1,400 Per Diem

The Regional Minister (left) and his Deputy addressing journalists

The Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi, Capt (Rtd) Anthony Cudjoe, has refunded the $1,400.00 which was given to him by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) in connection with his 13 days attempted trip to Colombia for the 7 th  World Urban Forum held from 5 to 11 April, this year.

The Sekondi-Takoradi MCE refunded $1,000.00 out of the money to the Metropolitan Finance Officer on April 15, 2014 and paid back the difference on May 7, 2014.

He refunded the money to the assembly’s account number   1000700221901 as was shown on a receipt number AB 0764375 dated May 19, 2014 and indicated on an advice slip of National Investment Bank Limited, Takoradi.

This was contained in a committee report on allegations of misconduct against the mayor on an abortive trip to the World Urban Forum in Columbia.

It would be recalled that the May 6, 2014 edition of the Chronicle newspaper published a story to the effect that the Sekondi-Takoradi mayor had swindled the assembly to the tune of GH¢30,000.00 meant for a trip to Colombia, but was cooling it off in Tema.

A three-member committee was therefore set up by the Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, to investigate the case and to establish the truth of the matter.

The committee, which was chaired by the Deputy Regional Minister, Alfred Ekow Gyan, had finished its work and presented its report to the Regional Minister.

Briefing journalists on the findings of the committee, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo maintained that the trip to Colombia was official.

He explained that it was initiated by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development per letter number SCR/EA 235/60/105/01 and dated 7 February, 2014.

He added that the protocol officer at the Ministry of Local Government made a reservation at a Travel and Tour Company called Faith Executive Travel, at Kokomlemle in Accra and that the flight was supposed to arrive at the Madrid Terminal in Spain on April 2 at 1455 hours.

The Amount Given
According to the committee’s findings, an amount of GH₵6,672.00 was paid by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly to the travel and tour company in respect of the mayor’s trip.

The Regional Minister indicated that Capt Cudjoe also received a per diem of $1,400.00 (equivalent to GH¢3,930.00) for the 13 days trip as was shown in the payment voucher with the number CM/3656/14.

Trip Aborted
The Regional Minister added that on April 2, 2014 while in Accra preparing for departure, the mayor was beckoned by the Protocol Officer of the Local Government Ministry that a transit visa would be required.

‘Capt. Cudjoe therefore went to verify from the officer in-charge at the Ministry – one Mrs Levina Owusu – who confirmed that it was true thereby rendering the initial travel arrangements untenable’, he stated.

He indicated that on April 3, 2014 on-line booking was done for a US visa for the mayor and Capt (Rtd) Cudjoe was invited for an interview on April 7, 2014.

Paul Evans Aidoo added that the mayor was supposed to be given the American visa on April 9, 2014, but unfortunately, the embassy could not finish the mayor’s documentation as expected; and so Capt (Rtd) Cudjoe finally received his transit visa to America on April 11, at a11:30 am.

He noted that Capt Cudjoe did not make the trip due to the frustrations leading to the late acquisition of the transit visa and therefore (Aidoo) deemed it inexpedient to embark on the journey.

Breakdown Of Expenditure
The Regional Minister said the committee established that the cost of ticket purchased from Faith Executive Travel was GH¢6,672.00 and the per diem for the trip was $1,400.00.

‘Therefore the total expenditure on Capt (Rtd) Cudjoe was GH¢10,592.00’, the minister stressed.

The Committee averred that the publication by the Chronicle was false since the total expenditure on the retired Captain’s abortive trip was GH¢10,592.00 and not GH¢30,000.00 as was stated by the newspaper.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Sekondi

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