Committee clears MCE of financial misconduct
A three-member committee set up by the Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to investigate Captain Anthony Cudjoe (rtd), Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Chief Executive, for misconduct has cleared him of any wrong doing, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, the Regional Minister, said on Monday.
At a press conference on the report of the committee, he said The Chronicle front page article published under the caption “Major Swindles Own Assembly…takes 30,000 Ghana Cedis to cool off at Tema Columbia” on May 6 this year, was false.
The committee included Mr. Alfred Ekow Gyan, Deputy Regional Minister, chairman, Mr. Samuel Larbi, Regional Budget Officer and Mr. Alexander Zormelo, Regional Internal Auditor.
Mr. Aidoo said the total expenditure on Captain Cudjoe’s abortive trip to Medellin, Columbia to attend the 7th World Urban Forum from April 5-11 this year, was 10,592 Ghana Cedis.
He said the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) paid 6,672 Ghana Cedis to Faith Executive Travel for ticket for Captain Cudjoe for the trip which was official and initiated by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).
Mr. Aidoo said Captain Cudjoe received a per diem of 1,400 United States dollars equivalent to 3,715 point 01 Ghana Cedis for 13 days in connection with the trip.
He said the MCE received his transit visa to America at 11.30 a.m. on April 11 and deemed it inexpedient to embark on the trip when the visa was given to him and was supposed to depart on the same day at 11.30 a.m.
Mr. Aidoo said on April 15, Captain Cudjoe refunded 1,000 dollars of per diem to the Metropolitan Finance Officer and paid back the difference on May 7.
He was happy about the interest the publication generated among the populace and it enjoins public office holders to be transparent and accountable.
Mr. Aidoo said vibrant press in all democratic countries is an important element for good governance but in upholding its watchdog role, the media should be able to give accurate information to maintain its own credibility.
He said public office holders must take a cue from the incident and notify the relevant bodies about inability to embark on trips and ensure that there is value for money in all such situations.
Mr. Aidoo said he had directed the STMA to retrieve the amount of 6,670 Ghana Cedis paid to Faith Executive Travel for ticket for the trip within two weeks and failure to do so made it a liability to the MCE or the schedule officer at the MLGRD.
He said the RCC and for that matter, all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, will continue to operate an open, transparent and accountable governance to ensure that public resources are judiciously used for the common good of all.
Mr. Aidoo said, “We, therefore, oblige the Media and the Public to seek clarification on any issue that linger on their minds”, adding, “The RCC will support and encourage reporters and the general public who give information about malfeasance in public offices”.
He asked all heads of departments, boards and corporations, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to notify the RCC about any intended travel within and outside the country.