MEF considers suing Muntaka, Ablakwa for defamation

The organisers of the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards, the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) have revealed that they are considering their options including a court action against Mohammed-Mubarak Mubarak and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa for defaming their character.

The move, they noted, stemmed from allegations of extortion of money the duo levelled against them during the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards held in Accra last year.

“The propagation of such irresponsible and destructive falsehood made against my client should not availed the cloak of Parliamentary Immunity which, if had been said anywhere else out in the open, would certainly have given rise to a meritorious court action in defamation. The Foundation is still considering its options”.

This was disclosed by Charles William Zwennes from Gaisie Zwennes Hughes & Co. Solicitors for MEF, moments after the presentation of the report of the five-member Adhoc that was set up to probe the alleged cash for seat saga, on the floor of Parliament, Tuesday.

The Committee in their findings exonerated MEF and the Ministry of Trade and Industry from any wrong doing during the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards.

MEF also lauded the findings by the Adhoc Committee for the “dutiful and diligent” approach by which it discharged its work.

According to Mr Zwennes, the approach by which it discharged its work to arrive at an “accurate and an entirely truthful set of findings”, which have effectively debunked and discredited those imaginative, mischievous stories and assigned them to the proverbial heap for good was worthy of praise.

He however, maintained that despite their acquittal, it has come at a heavy cost to the nation, and more especially, its hitherto unsullied and unquestionable reputation.

“This is not to mention the heavy cost that these false allegations have caused the country also to suffer in terms of the commitment of foreigners to the making of foreign direct investments, market confidence and the image of the leadership of the Republic of Ghana on the international platform”.

Background

On January 5, 2018, Hon. Munta moved a motion at an emergency Parliamentary sitting calling on the House to investigate the levy and collection by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Ghana Cedi equivalent of various sums of money up to US$100,000.00 from expatriate businesses and related matters during the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards in Accra.

According to him, some documents at his disposal clearly showed that some monies were collected from expatriates, noting that such was unethical.

The motion was seconded by the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu debating the motion told the House that the mover of the motion himself did not sign the affidavit attached to his motion.

Apart from that 28 MPs whose names were captured in the list of 77 as having signed the affidavit calling for the emergency sitting had no signature against their names.

He told the House that based on the procedural irregularities which he considered to be gross abuse of the processes of Parliament, it was important for the Speaker to dismiss “what we have before us is incompetence”.

The Speaker having listened to the various arguments advanced by members directed that a five-member Adhoc Committee be set up to probe the matter and report to the House accordingly.

The five are; Majority Chief Whip, Kwesi Ameyaw Cheremeh, Chairman, MP for Adenta, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, MP for New Juabeng South, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi and MP for Bolgatanga, Dominic Ayeni.

It was to investigate how payments were disbursed and whether the disbursements offended any laws.

It was to also investigate when the matter arose, whether it could be perceived to be something new that has arisen, whether the matter could have been raised during the regular sitting and also whether the matter had been raised during the last session.

The Committee was directed to submit it report on January 24, 2018.

But the submission of the report was extended twice partly due to the absence of the expatriate businesses and last minute split of the Committee.

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