General News of Thursday, 26 January 2017
The story of the `Minister-designate for Energy, Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko, that he went into exile when he became a victim of military coup after some ‘heartless soldiers’ had fetched him from his house and shot him in the groin, sent chills down the spines of members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament as well as the audience at his vetting on Tuesday.
The Minister-designate, who was narrating his ordeal at the hands of the military after a failed coup staged by Corporal Halidu Gyiwah in 1984, nearly burst into tears and was choked on his narration.
Struggling to contain his emotions, the nominee stated that he left the country in 1984 after some soldiers had come for him for allegedly ‘fighting’ against the then military regime, in a clear mission to “eliminate” him.
He was forced to tell his story after a member of the committee and National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP), for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, had asked him (nominee) why on his CV, there was nothing to show for the year between 1984 and 1986 – which implied that he was not engaged in any work during that period.
The Minister-designate indicated to the committee that there was a coup attempt by Halidu Gyiwah to topple the Rawlings’s military regime but when it failed the military rulers fetched him as a civilian and shot him; and when they thought he was dead he was left to his fate until his sisters and other relations came to his aid and sent him to the hospital.
He said that since he was a target of the military regime, the family members had to arrange for him to escape to the United States of America where his mother was sojourned, to seek further medical attention and also seek political asylum.
Mr Boakye Agyarko claimed that he stayed in the US for 25 years but he never acquired a US citizenship.
“I went to the US as a political refugee and qualified as such. In a matter of two years, I was able to upgrade my status from a refugee to that of a resident permit holder. This is because I had a number of equity situations, namely; my sister could apply for me to hold a Green Card as well as my mother, who had become a naturalised American citizen. Throughout the period, I stayed in America on a Green Card, and at no point in time did I become a citizen of the United States,” he recounted.
He told the committee that between 1984 and 1986, he had to undergo a series of surgeries and waited to fully recuperate before getting on with his life again; and therefore within that period he could not do anything for himself.
Boakye Agyarko told the committee, “I was employed by Management and Investment Consultants in 1980 after my national service. In June 1983, for those who will recall, there was a mutiny led by Lance Corporal Halidu Giwa. I was picked up by the Military and sent to the Airforce Station and put against the wall and shot. I almost lost my life, and through the intervention of Monsieur Le Veloire and my two sisters, I was able to leave Ghana through London to France, and then settled in the United States under very difficult circumstances. So for that period, I was close to being an invalid; and I didn’t do any work.
“Even though I left officially in 1983, Management and Investment Consultants wrote to me officially saying that as at the end of 1984 I was no longer employed with them, so my employment with them ended in 1984, and the next two years I was going through a series of surgeries and recuperation,” he recalled.
The MP who asked the question greatly sympathized with the nominee and said, “This is a touchy story indeed.”
Boakye Agyarko said despite the political incident that nearly took his life, he still had the zeal to serve his country and that was the reason why he left his well-paid job in the USA to come home and fully engage in national politics.
Mr Boakye Agyarko attended Mfantsipim School for his ‘O’ and ‘A” Levels and proceeded to the University of Ghana to read economics and political science before undergoing further studies in financial economics at the Pace University, USA.