Former Roads and Highways Minister, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has described President Nana Akufo-Addo’s comment on the cash-for-seat bi-partisan probe as contempt of parliament.
According to him, the president’s prejudicial comments were intended to water down the outcome of the ad-hoc committee investigations.
“Look at his comment on parliament’s probe on the cash-for-seat scandal. I was seriously scandalised. His initial comments on that was an affront to the dignity of parliament because parliament had reconvened based on a motion and the requisite number of signatures to recall parliament for an emergency meeting and constituted a committee to go into the matter and then the president in his initial comment sought to downplay the importance of what parliament did and sought to suggest that it was an exercise in futility.
"He only came back to his senses when Kwesi Pratt asked the question again…Clearly what he [President] said was contemptuous of parliament and I’m not surprised that his friend Saied Fahkry and co. refused to appear before the committee," he said in an interview with Jonas Ofori Yeboah on Class FM’s 505 news programme.
"I mean you are president, you are not a public person and you are asked about a committee and you are justifying why the winner of the award will not pay to sit by you because you sit by him to eat dinner, what kind of justification is that,” the lawmaker quizzed.
Nana Akufo-Addo during his encounter with a cross section of the Ghanaian media on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 said allegations of extortion levelled against Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyeremanten were unfounded.
“I looked at the explanation and examined it with others and I believe the statement Mr Kyerematen made to me is the very same statement he made before the committee and has been supported by virtually everybody who was involved in the organisation of the event.
“The fact that there is a public enquiry does not in itself shake my own conviction that nothing untoward had taken place; that is the reason I took that position even before the special enquiry was launched,” the president stated.
“I supported the decision that an enquiry should be launched, so that there can be no question that anybody is attempting to cover anything up and people can see the bright light of day,” he added.
The President said one of the expatriate businessmen at the centre of the controversy, Mr Saied Fahkry, the Chairman of Interplast, was a personal friend whom he had known for nearly 40 years.
He, therefore, wondered how such a person would pay $100,000 to sit next to him at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) held in Accra on December 4, 2017.
“The figure at the centre of the controversy, who won the award, has been a client of mine for nearly 40 years and his father was a good friend of my own father; he himself is a good friend of mine and I have known him and I eat in his house and he eats in my house.
“I have his telephone number and he has mine. Even after I became President, I have been to his house a couple of times. The reason I go to his house is that he makes the best Lebanese food.
“I have been amazed that somebody I have known needs to pay money to sit next to me. This is a man who can get me on telephone any time of his choosing,” the President explained.