General News of Thursday, 21 December 2017
GHC2,667,215 was raised for the controversial Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, according to the Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, who asked Mr. Kyeremanten to clear the air on the matter, has concluded that there was no wrongdoing, after he received a report from the Minister.
The Ministry was alleged to have charged between $25,000 and $100,000, to enable expatriates to sit close to the President at the awards ceremony, which was organised by the Millennium Excellence Foundation. In line with accountability, Mr. Kyeremanten, in a statement disclosed that, “an amount GHc2,667,215 was raised for the event, of which receipts were issued, as against an expenditure of GHc 2,367,426.06.”
Reiterating earlier assertions from the Trade Ministry, Mr. Kyeremanten explained that, the Millennium Excellence Foundation was totally in charge of the structure and distribution of the sponsorship package for the event, although it was operating under guidelines provided by the Ministry.
As part of arrangements towards the organisation of the event, the Ministry of Trade and Industry insisted that, all monies raised in support of the event be paid into an account held by the Ministry “to ensure financial integrity and accountability which the organizers agreed to.”
The Minority in Parliament has maintained that, there was some wrongdoing by ministry, and has indicated that, it is ready to appear before any investigative body to provide evidence in the form of receipts to support their claims of extortion.
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, also wants Parliament to set up a committee to probe the alleged extortion.
But Mr. Kyeremanten in his statement said it was “difficult to imagine how a government institution seeking to extort monies from individuals would insist on issuing official receipts”.
He stated that, the Foundation was “specifically instructed not to collect any monies to place persons or organisations on the Presidential High table for the evening, and they provided assurances that this would not happen.”
He added that, “for the avoidance of doubt, none of the individuals or companies who sat on the Presidential High Table at the event made a contribution of $100,000 prior to the event as being alleged.”
According to Mr. Kyeremanten, there were even individuals seated at the Presidential High Table “who did not make any monetary contribution before or after the event.”
“From the information available to the Ministry, there was no extortion of monies from any expatriate business owner as being alleged. Indeed, no single individual has come out to make a claim of extortion,”
Find the Minister’s full statement here