Minority calls for emergency sitting over ‘extortion’ of expatriates

General News of Thursday, 28 December 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

2017-12-28

The Minority wants Parliament to investigate allegations of monies collected from expats

The Minority in Parliament wants the House to investigate allegations that levies were collected by the Ministry of Trade and Industry from expatriates in order for them to be allocated certain seats at the recent Ghana Expatriates Business Awards in Accra.

The Minority, in a memo sent to the Speaker of Parliament and sighted by citifmonline.com have asked Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye to summon a meeting of Parliament to consider the matter.

The Member of Parliament for the Asawase constituency, Muntaka Mubarak and his counterpart from North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who signed the memo believe the House must take urgent action on the matter which it has spoken against for the past few weeks.

The Minority is challenging the Trade Ministry’s decision to levy some expatriates who attended the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards which had President Akufo-Addo in attendance.

According to the Minority, expatriates were charged between $25,000 and $100,000 to reserve seats at the event.

Background

The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, first made the allegation in Parliament.

Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry’s accounts.

The issue has further been reinforced by Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Okudzeto Ablakwa, who suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has already dissociated itself from these allegations.

The Trade Ministry, in a statement, said it played no role in determining prices for seats at the event, and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.

We can prove Trade Ministry extortion claims

The Minority in Parliament has also said they are ready to appear before any investigative body to provide evidence of extortion in the allegations.

Ablakwa in a Citi News interview said they ready to appear before “any investigative body that wants to take this matter up seriously and over there, we will send the receipts and all the other information that we have.”

Akufo-Addo summons Trade ministry

Amidst the brouhaha, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo said he found the allegations against the ministry to be baseless following a query to the Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten, demanding answers from him over the allegations.

A statement from the government said “the facts, as reported to the President, do not disclose any wrongdoing on the part of the Minister of any government official.”

In view of this, the President “therefore asked the Minister to put those facts before the Ghanaian people.”

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