The Deputy Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, has flatly denied having any special relationship with Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a known financier of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and also taking GH¢75,000 from him.
Woyome was charged for wrongfully receiving GH¢51.2 million as judgement debt paid by the previous NDC government for the abrogation of Waterville contract to construct new stadia to enable Ghana host the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
However, at the vetting yesterday, the Minority members, led by the NDC MP for Tamale North, Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu, tried to rope the deputy minister-designate into the Woyome judgement debt scandal for allegedly receiving GH¢75,000 from the man.
O.B. Amoah told the Appointments Committee that it was a political attempt to indict the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as far as the stadium construction was concerned.
He said Alfred Woyome himself had admitted in a radio interview that he never gave any money to him.
The MP for Tamale North wanted to know whether the deputy minister-designate had ever received that amount from Alfred Woyome’s account, but he said he never did and that it was only a futile attempt to link him to the scandal because at the time that the contract was given he (O.B. Amoah) was the Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports.
He said as far the Woyome issue is concerned, he is not guilty of any malfeasance.
He said Justice Yaw Appau’s Commission of Enquiry and the government’s white paper on the recommendations of the commission have all exonerated him from any wrongdoing.
He told the committee that the NPP government under former President Kufuor had paid every money due the local contractors, who were given financial guarantee by Waterville for whatever works they executed before the contract was eventually abrogated.
“I can say here that the government never owed Waterville any amount.”
On his substantive ministry, the deputy minister-designate did not agree with a member of the committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that the NPP government’s funding of the Ministry from GoG had dwindled while foreign donor support had increased as compared to the mode of funding by the previous NDC government.
He said NPP has rather decreased donor funding for the ministry from 90% to 85% and increased the GoG funding by 41%.
He also did not subscribe to the practice where major ministries and government agencies by-pass the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in executing developmental projects in the various districts and when the projects are poorly executed the MMDAs are blamed for poorly executed jobs.
According to O.B. Amoah, it was important that such sector ministries or government agencies in executing any project at the district level consult the district assemblies and liaise with them in executing such projects to give some sort of ownership to the assemblies.
He said for DCEs to be elected as promised by the NPP government, it was important for the constitution to be amended to allow for all assembly members to also be elected and restrict the president from appointing extra assembly members to the various assemblies.
He said government would give special attention to deprived districts so that they could also see accelerated development.
Those who are going to be given the privilege to serve as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) must not think that the position was to be used for ‘gold mining’ or to lord it over the people or else the ministry will not hesitate to crack the whip on MMDCEs for such misconducts.
He was also of the view that the government acted within the constitution to reduce the percentage of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) from 7% to 5%.
The deputy minister-designate for Transport, Daniel Nii Kwatei Titus-Glover, who also appeared before the Appointments Committee, said he was going to support his minister to achieve the stated objectives or policies to move the transport ministry forward.
He said Shipyard and Drydocks at Tema would be revitalized to ensure that ships are repaired in the country to help create employment for the people in Tema.
He said the ministry would also liaise with MMDAs to help construct car terminals or lorry stations in many towns where there would be provisions for rest stops to enable passengers have places to rest while waiting to board commercial vehicles.
The deputy minister-designate for Education, Babara Asher Ayisi, who also appeared before the Committee, defended the government’s policy of free secondary school education.
She said having taught for 17 years at the secondary level, she would use her experience to help shape secondary education in the country.
Discipline and hard work are the key to helping students to achieve greater educational laurels, she stated.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr