General News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
The Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Adam Mutawakilu, has alleged that there is an attempt to cover up the premix diversion scandal.
According to him, government’s failure to make any arrests, indicates a lack of willingness to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Tuesday, Adam Mutawakilu suggested that, persons who signed off on the documents indicating that the premix fuel had been received despite the diversions, could be detained and questioned. This, he believes would push the signatories to reveal the identities of the top officials who are also involved in the scandal.
“There are people at the landing beaches who signed the documents that they had received the premix fuel. In actual fact they had not received it, and the fishermen didn’t get it. That is a clear sign of criminality. Their names and signatures are there, and we would like the government to arrest them so that the investigation is bottom-up,” the Damongo legislator said.
“Once they are picked up and locked up, and investigated, they will reveal who directed them to sign, and from there who instructed them, and it will eventually get to the Ministry.”
He, however, believes the lack of arrests over a week after Citi News broke the story, was a clear sign that the government wanted to sweep the scandal under the carpet.
“It’s clear that there is some cover-up. As a government that has promised to ensure that corruption exists no more, we thought that it was a clear sign to start investigations by picking them up. If somebody has stolen something, you don’t need to investigate to find out if he has stolen it before you arrest him. You can arrest him first, he can be bailed and then you investigate,” he said.
“We expect that once these people have signed the document, indicating that they’ve received the premix fuel for our fishermen when in actual fact they haven’t, that should be the first point of arrest. Once there are arrests, there’ll be more information from the members and that will proceed upwards.”
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 the 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 for a substantive person.
Sack Fisheries Minister
Adam Mutawakilu also called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to withdraw the appointment of the Fisheries Minister Elizabeth Afoley Quaye.
According to him, despite being responsible for both the premix Committee and the Landing beach committees, the Ministry had failed to sanitize the sector and had not acted quickly enough once news broke about the diversions.
He believes that in order for thorough investigations to be done, the Minister would either have to resign or be asked to step aside.
His comments were echoed by National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Bongo Constituency in the Upper East Region, Edward Bawa, who also demanded the resignation of the Minister.
In a statement copied to citifmonline.com, Edward Bawa also called for a parliamentary probe into the scandal, which he said is of great worry to the country’s fisheries sector.
According to him, the parliamentary probe, which must be bipartisan, has become necessary due to the executive’s unwillingness to investigate the matter.