Former Secretary to ex-President J.A Kufuor, Ambassador D.K Osei has said the late J.H Mensah, Statesman and a stalwart of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) died a pauper after several decades of dedicated service to the country.According to him, J.H Mensah, a Finance Minister who served ex Presidents Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. K.A Busia and J.A Kufuor was a selfless public servant and politician who was passionate about working hard to the develop Ghana and never sought to enrich himself while in office.
“At the time that I was getting into the university, it was obvious to most of my friends that I was getting into politics but it was J.H who encouraged me to stick to public service. I’ve no regrets for having served this country for well over 40 years as a public servant. I think that I cannot by the greatest stretch of my imagination think that I’ve done one-tenth of what J.H did but he led the way. He thought us how to serve and love the country.
“But most important of all his integrity was impeccable, I literally can say J.H died as a pauper. You know, a lot of Ghanaians will be shocked by what I’m saying but he did…he did. I don’t want to get into complex explanation, material things were unimportant to him.” Ambassador D.K Osei told Paul Adom Otchere in an interview on Good Evening Ghana show in memory of J.H Mensah.
The 89-year-old Economist passed on at the 37 Military Hospital on Thursday 12th July where he had been seeking medical treatment for some time now.
He was buried on Friday, August 17, 2018.
Below is the biography of the late JH Mensah
Born on (born 31 October 1928) Joseph Henry Mensah attended the University of the Gold Coast (now University of Ghana) between 1948 and 1954. He then headed to the University of London then Stanford University, where he earned his both a bachelor’s and master’s degree with a specialization in economic theory and development. In 1954, Mensah became a Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Ghana, which lasted until 1958.
Mensah began working as an assistant inspector of taxes in 1953 while the Gold Coast was still under colonial rule. In 1958, Mensah joined the United Nations Secretariat at the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies, in New York City, United States. Mensah returned to Ghana in 1961 as the Head of Agency at the National Planning commission. The National Planning commission drew and implemented the country’s Seven-Year Development Plan (1962–1969). In 1969, he was elected to parliament and became the Finance minister until 1972 when he was replaced by future head of state Ignatius Kutu Acheampong after the military coup.
Beginning in 1974, Mensah worked in the private sector both in Ghana and abroad. He was imprisoned by the National Redemption Council from 1975 to 1978. Although banned from political activity in 1979, he was active for the Popular Front Party in the 1979 elections. He also served as Chairman of the Sunyani District Council in Brong-Ahafo Region (1979–1981), and proprietor of Banka Farms. Exiled in England, in 1983 he headed a group opposing the PNDC.
He also served on the African Advisory Council of the African Development Bank from 1993 to 1997. In December 1996, Mensah contested a parliamentary seat in Sunyani East District as a member of the New Patriotic Party, which he won. He was re-elected in 2000. Prior to John Kufuor’s election in 2001, Mensah was the minority leader in Parliament.