The Minister-designate for Youth and Sports, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye; Minister-designate for the Ashanti Region, John Alexander Ackon and the Minister-designate for the Upper East Region, Albert Abongo, were yesterday grilled by the Appointments Committee of Parliament when they were being vetted for their new political appointments.
The minister-designate for Youth and Sports was grilled over his alleged controversial remarks during the 2012 voter registration exercise in his constituency, Odododiodioo, where he reportedly prevented non-Gas in the constituency from registering.
The Ashanti Regional Minster-designate was also grilled over the recent heightening security tension in the Asante-Akim Agogo area of the region where the local people are calling for the removal of Fulani herdsmen from their land.
The Upper East Regional Minister-designate was also questioned on how he intends to stop the waste in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) which otherwise could be used to speed up development of the region, classified as one of the poorest in the country.
The Minister-designate for Youth and Sports, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, told the Appointments Committee that the issue of he preventing non-Gas from registering in his constituency reported in the media was not correct and that he never sanctioned that move.
“Mr chairman, I never said that but I think the media reported me wrongly. I am not tribalistic or xenophobic and will never do that because I am married to non-Ga, schooled in the Brong-Ahafo Region and grew up in the Ashanti region,” he said.
He however, fell short of telling the committee what exactly happened which was misreported by the media because the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, who asked the question, did not pursue that.
The spelling of his middle name, Lantey also generated huge controversy at the vetting because the communication from the presidency spelt the middle name, Lante without the letter ‘y’ but the minister-designate insisted the two spellings are the same in the Ga tradition.
Some members of the Committee, led by the MP for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh and MP for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, insisted that because of the differences in the spelling of the name, his vetting should he suspended for the presidency to present the correct name.
“Mr chairman, this nominee cannot be the one the president nominated for this position because he is claiming that his name is Lantey while the president also nominated somebody whose name is Lante so we must suspend his vetting for now.”
The chairman, Ebo Barton-Odro, however pleaded with the Committee members let the proceeding to go on while he writes to the presidency for the necessary corrections to be made in the spelling of the name.
The minister-designate was asked about the implementation of the Commission of Enquiry’s report on the country’s 2014 World Cup debacle by the MP for Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem, Dr Ato Arthur, but Nii Lantey said it is a matter that is in the domain of the Attorney General so he could not comment on that.
He agreed with the suggestion by Dr Ato Arthur that there was the urgent need for National Sports Bill to be presented to parliament to ensure that legal framework is given to the ministry for the effective implementation of policies and programmes in the sports sector.
The Minister-designate for the Ashanti Region, Alexander Ackon, said the security situation at the Asante-Akim Agogo area is a murky one that would need the co-operation of all stakeholders to ensure that a lasting peace is built in the area.
He told the Committee that when he is given the nod he would definitely ensure the full implementation of the court order that asked the security people to evict Fulani herdsmen from the Asante-Akim area.
The Minister-designate for the Upper East Region, Albert Abongo, admitted that even though there might be some waste at the SADA, his mandate as a regional minister could not do much to retrieve those wasted money.
According to the MP for Abuakwa South, SADA gave $1 million to a private company known as Human Construction Engineering Company Limited, on the orders of the Ministry of Finance which could have otherwise been directed to the development of the Upper East Region, particularly the Pwalugu Tomato Factory, to give jobs to the youth in the area.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr