General News of 2018-01-13

$100,000 expats saga: Spending time discussing it regrettable – Kyerematen

The Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen, has slammed the ongoing sitting by the five-member parliamentary committee probing what is now known to be the ‘Cash-for-Seat’ saga as regrettable. “It is regrettable to be spending executive time to be discussing this,” declared Mr. Kyerematen in his response to a statement the Chairman of the Committee Ameyaw Kyeremeh has made allusion to. “I must say before I take leave of you that a matter of this nature has been elevated to a public controversy and has led to a parliamentary enquiry and I want it to be put on record that it is our hope that we go through this process by the grace of that no adverse finding is established,” he added in his concluding remarks. He said should the committee end its work without any adverse findings “it will be a matter of deep regret that we have had as a country to endure a controversy that has the potential of making very significant damage to our international reputation.” “If in the minds of the international public it is indeed the case that the government of Ghana is extorting monies from expatriates who have invested their monies in this country, do we not believe the impact that it would have on Ghana’s capacity to mobilize investments into this country?” he queried. He also insisted that the Ministry has not erred in partnering the Millennium Excellence Awards in organizing the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA) last year. The awards ceremony generated massive controversy after it emerged that expatriate business moguls who participated in the ceremony were charged a whopping $100.000.00 to sit close to President Akufo-Addo. After several denials by the Trade and Industry Ministry and demands for the monies to be refunded to the expatriates by the Minority in parliament, the chairman of the Millennium Excellence Foundation – organizers of the event – Victor Gbeho confirmed that the fees were charged. According to the audited account for the event, GH¢2, 667, 215, 00 was raised against an expenditure of GH¢2, 367, 426, 06 per a statement from the Ministry. The government through the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, issued a statement exonerating the Ministry of any wrongdoing. The Minority in parliament insisted there was wrongdoing leading to the establishment of the five-member committee. “Mr. Chairman, I have no doubt in my mind that there was clarity on the part of the two parties as to the responsibilities bestowed on either party. And this is reflective in the Memorandum of Understandings (MoU),” Mr. Kyerematen bellowed in dismissal of the Minority’s stance. Also, touching on the exoneration of his Ministry of any wrongdoing by the Presidency, he noted, “The [presidency’s] investigation was thorough. “I was written to and this was made public knowledge and I responded and after the response an official statement was issued by the Minister of Information. So I have no reason [but] to believe that it was a thorough investigation.”Source: starrfmonline.com
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