General News of Friday, 1 December 2017
Anti-corruption campaigner, Vitus Azeem believes the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, should have resigned over the arbitrary appointment of her brother to oversee the distribution of premix fuel in the country.
According to him, the act of the minister was inappropriate and must prompt her to relinquish her position, especially in the wake of the recent premix fuel diversion scandal that has hit the Ministry.
The Fisheries Ministry, headed by Mrs. Afoley Quaye, has failed to act over the issue of fuel diversion when it was brought to its attention by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).
Following the revelation of the diversions that had taken place, the fact that the Minister had appointed her brother, Joseph Botchwey, as the Acting Administrator of the National Premix Secretariat at a point in time, came as a shock to many.
With this move raising questions relating to conflict of interest, Mr. Azeem suggested that Mrs. Afoley Quaye must step down from her position.
“You come in as a minister and you say there is a new era and you handpick your own brother to be in charge of an area that ends up with these allegations, how do you raise your head in the public? Shouldn’t you say I am bowing out because of this mess I have caused to myself, to the family and to the government that I am serving?” he questioned in an interview on Eyewitness News.
Gov’t posture to premix scandal not inspiring – Vitus Azeem
He added that he had little confidence in the Akufo-Addo administration’s ability to effectively probe the scandal.
“[I’m not questioning] just capacity but the unwillingness and refusal [of the government] to deal with these things that they promised us, and got our votes to take over the reigns of governance of this country,” he said.
At least 200 cases of premix fuel diversions have been cited by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), since January 2017.
The Ministry of Energy, in May 2017, subsequently ordered the Fisheries Ministry to probe the companies alleged to be complicit in the fuel diversion, but that did not happen.
When quizzed on her role in the scandal by Citi News, Mrs. Afoley Quaye said the NPA was in a better position to act on the widespread diversion of premix fuel, because her Ministry did not have a tracking system to identify culprits.
Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, also defended her decision to appoint her brother as the Acting Administrator of the National Premix Secretariat, saying he was competent enough and has since left the position and been replaced by a substantive appointee.
Meanwhile, a civil society group calling itself the Fisheries Alliance, has petitioned the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, to investigate the suspected premix fuel diversion scandal.
In a letter to the CID, the Alliance cited President Nana Akufo-Addo’s directive to ensure investigations into any corruption allegations against his appointees as the reason for their action.