The Parlour of Parliament was nearly turned into a boxing arena, Tuesday, when the deputy Minister of Trade & Industry, Carlos Ahinkorah, and the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, traded insult over alleged money charged expatriates who sat beside the President during the recent Ghana Expatriates Business Awards.
Had it not been the swift intervention of Alhassan Suhuyinu, MP for Tamale North, the encounter would have turned into a fisticuffs.
It all started when Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa was interacting with some journalists over the alleged extortion of money from expatriates who sat beside President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards a fortnight ago.
The Minority in Parliament led by their Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka alleged on the floor of Parliament when debating the 2018 budget estimate of the Ministry of Trade & Industry that the Ministry charged expatriates between US$25,000 and US$100,000 to offer them seats besides the President of the Republic at the Awards night.
According to him, the fees charged were not the kind of fees approved by Parliament and that the monies were not accounted for in the internally generated fund of the Ministry’s accounts.
The Ministry of Trade & Industry in a statement denied the claim, noting that it played no role in the determination of prices for seats at the event.
But Mr. Ablakwa who was not convinced with the response from the Trade Ministry told the journalists that the act by the Ministry was an affront to the Fees and Charges Act.
To this effect, he urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry to immediately refund the “sums extorted to the expatriates” since the act is a disgrace to the nation.
“This is dubious, immoral and unethical. They are using the Office of the President to extort money from expatriates”, he alleged.
While interacting with the journalists, Mr. Ahinkorah popped up from nowhere waiting for his return to respond to the claims being made by the North Tongu MP.
However, he got angry when Okudzeto Ablakwa accused the Ministry of Trade & Industry of using the Office of the President to extort money from expatriates in the country.
He then interrupted the interview, and accused Okudzeto Ablakwa of being a thief and a liar who has no evidence to back his claims.
“Let him know that he is a thief. You have stolen through your life and you have even lied through your education”, a physically charged Ahinkorah told Okudzeto Ablakwa in the face.