A witness before the parliament’s cash-for-seat probe has rubbished claims that the title president as presented in a sponsorship package for the Expatriate Business Awards was referring to the president of Millennium Excellence Foundation and not Ghana’s president.
Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who was the second witness on the day insisted he had documentary evidence in his possession, which shows clearly the president referred to in the sponsorship package to expatriates businesses was president Nana Akufo-Addo and not Ashim Morton who is the president of Millennium Excellence Foundation.
Ashim Morton had suggested in a press conference last December, the title president referred to in the sponsorship package was him and not president Akufo-Addo.
But Ablakwa told the five-member probe investigating the cash-for-seat scandal that the claim is not only “ridiculous but bizarre” and has national security implications.
The Minority has accused the Trades Ministry of abusing the presidency to raise funds for the organization of the Expatriate Business Awards organized on December 8, 2017.
According to the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak, expatriate businessmen paid between ¢15,000-¢100,000 to sit close to the president of Ghana at the Awards night with and other benefits attached to it.
He described the transaction as lacking transparency, highly unethical and needs to be investigated.
The revelations by the Minority caused a huge public uproar which forced the president to summon the Trades Minister to provide him details of the scandal.
After hearing from Alan Kyeremanten, the sector Minister, the president caused a statement to be issued by the Information Minister clearing the Minister of any wrongdoing.
But the Minority was unimpressed and demanded an urgent sitting in Parliament during which they demanded for an investigation.
The Speaker agreed to the call and constituted a five member committee to look into the matter.
On Thursday, the mover of the motion in Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak and the seconder of same Okudzeto Ablakwa have appeared to testify to the matter and to adduce evidence they believe cast doubts on what the Trade Ministry and the presidency have said about the cash-for-seat scandal.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the response by the presidency to the scandal was not encouraging.
“It was a matter of listening to the fact as presented by the minister; there was no investigation, nothing,” he said, adding given the embarrassment the scandal brought to the country the committee must do a thorough job at investigating the matter.
The witness cited a plethora of documents he claims were evidence of the comedy of contradictions by the Trades Ministry and the organizers of the Awards ceremony.
He read a 17 December 2017 letter he claimed was authored by the Trades Ministry the content of which suggested the presidency was approached and gave approval for the awards event.
He further on went ahead to read a 21 December 2017 press release by the same Ministry which sought to suggest that the presidency or any member of his staff had no idea about the event and played no role in the organization of the awards
“This is the first contradiction I can observe,” he stated.
The witness was later cross examined by the five committee members.