General News of Saturday, 3 November 2018
The Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has dismissed calls for the Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority to be dismissed, following allegations of financial malfeasance.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako believes, relieving Kwame Owusu of his position based on the allegations and his response to them without further investigations, would be inimical to the principles of good governance.
“That’s not how good governance works,” he said.
The veteran journalist told Samson Lardy Anyenini on news analysis programme, Newsfile on Saturday November 3, that the state must “go through a proper investigation after which you [government] rely on the findings to deal with him”.
Mr Owusu made headlines Tuesday after he held a news conference to rebut accusations that he had misappropriated taxpayers’ money and also put himself in a conflict of interest position, following his organisation’s decision to hold an end of year party with state funds in his hotel in December 2017.
Responding to claims, Mr Owusu simply said he had never denied ownership of the hotel.
“The Director-General [himself] has not refuted the allegation that he owns Luxe Suites Hotel so when I see some of you going to the hotel, taking pictures and putting them on social media, it is another journalistic mischief,” he said at the press conference.
He also said GH¢135,000 for the party was “for an estimated 500 people and not 100 as alleged”.
The Director-General also said some 11 air conditioners that he placed in a two bedroom house for himself is misinformed.
According to him, the house in question has been extended to a four-bedroom house with library and basement among others so the 11 air conditioners are about two short of what he needs.
Assessing Mr. Owusu’s reaction to the allegations, Kweku Baako said the D-G’s posture does not help his course.
The journalist argued that the Maritime boss had attacked sensitivities of the citizenry, especially “considering we are in an economy that is challenged”.
He, however, added that for the right thing to be done, a proper investigation must be conducted into the matter and for the state to check if the assets and money spent were authorized by due process.
He added that if Mr. Owusu is found liable, he then he can be surcharged and dismissed.
Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu who was also on the show noted that Mr. Owusu may find it difficult to make a case for defamation in court as he hinted.
The lawyer said Mr. Owusu must make an unqualified apology to the media for his attacks before he may consider representing him if approached.
Martin Kpebu also said the D-G must be ready to prove that what journalists said about the issue were false before he can head to court.