The five member parliamentary adhoc committee investigating the infamous cash-for-seat allegations is expected to present its report to parliament today, Wednesday, 31, January 2018.
Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, and Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, alleged that expatriates businessmen were made to pay $100,000 to sit close to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards ceremony.
The Speaker of Parliament tasked the committee to establish whether the Trade Ministry perpetuated any wrongdoing in the organisation of the awards.
The committee chaired by Majority Chief Whip, Ameyaw-Cheremeh after listening to testimonies from the Mr Mubarak, Mr Ablakwa, the Trades Minister, Alan Kyeremanteng, officials of the Millennium Expatriate awards as well as some expatriate business owners, is expected to lay the report before the House today, leading to debate on its recommendations.
Ghana may lose investors over cash-for-seat probe
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, expressed fears that the ‘cash for seat’ scandal could threaten Ghana’s attempts to mobilize investments from the international community.
In his concluding statement when he appeared before the committee probing the matter, Mr. Kyerematen said Ghana’s reputation risked incurring serious damage because of the allegations that his Ministry charged expatriates to sit by the President at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) in December 2017.
Background of “cash for seat” saga
The Ministry of Trade, which partnered the event organizers, Millennium Excellence Foundation, is alleged to have charged between $25,000 and $100,000, to enable expatriates to sit close to the President at the awards ceremony.
The allegation was first made by the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak in Parliament in December 2017.
Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry’s accounts.
The allegation was further reinforced by Mr. Ablakwa, who suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.
The Ministry of Trade said it played no role in determining prices for seats at the event, and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
But the Ministry after an order from the President to probe the matter clarified that an amount of GHc2, 667,215 was realized from the event. This was made known only after the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had asked the Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen, to investigate the matter and report to him.
The organizers of the Awards had also explained that no one paid to sit close to the President, and that the amount was raised from sponsorship through a fundraising at the event.
Parliament subsequently formed a five-member bi-partisan committee to investigate the matter.