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General News Tue, 31 Jan 2012

Kwesi Awhoi demands apology from NPP

Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture has criticised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for being hypocritical about the forced leave of the government statistician.

Speaking to Joy News on Monday, Mr Ahwoi said the erstwhile Kufuor administration was the first to introduce the concept of forced leave as a pretext for sacking state appointees.

He is demanding an apology for a 2001 decision by the NPP government to terminate his contract with the Ghana Investment Promotions Company through the pretext of a forced leave.

"We all recall that when Jake Obetsebi Lamtpey was the Chief of Staff in the early days of Kufuor's administration, he did send a whole lot of us on leave. They didn't explain anything to any Ghanaian; they didn't give any reason why all of us were supposed to proceed on leave."

According to Mr. Awhoi, he finds it "queer and hypocritical" that the NPP is demanding reasons for the actions taken by the GSS's board against Dr. Grace Bediako.

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"I would love to hear NPP come out to tell the whole Ghana, that 'we are sorry for what we did and apologise to Ghanaians and all of us who were affected," he added.

Meanwhile, the opposition New Patriotic Party has accepted the decision by the board of the Statistical Service to compel the government statistician to proceed on her accumulated leave for non-performance.

The NPP had earlier suggested that the decision was a ploy by the ruling party to manipulate the 2010 census figures to their electoral advantage in the absence of Dr. Bediako.

But reacting to the official explanation, the National Chairman of the NPP Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, told Joy News they will no longer contest Dr. Bediako’s forced leave.

In a related development, policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, says the board of the Ghana Statistical Service must be held collectively liable for poor performance.

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The board has asked the Government Statistician, Dr. Grace Bediako, to proceed on her six months accumulated leave for non-performance that could cost the service an estimated 43.5 million dollars in donor support.

But the Vice President of IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil says the board must take part of the blame for failing to deal with the service's challenges in a timely manner.

He said the board's removal of Dr. Bediako from the post is not enough to correct the challenges facing the service. "We want to know what other things that they are going to do, because fundamentally those of us in civil society hold the board responsible ultimately for what is going on there and so it should not just be Dr. Bediako."

Source: myjoyonline