Cash-for-Seats Report: Trade Ministry, Millennium Excellence Foundation Indicted

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The adhoc Committee set up by Parliament to investigate the Cash-for-seat allegation against the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) on Friday laid its report in the House for distribution to Members pending official presentation on Tuesday February 6.

Though Members of Parliament are yet to receive copies of the report,  ghananewsonline.com.gh has exclusive access to the soft copy of the full 32 page report which has some damning conclusions against MoTI and MEF – the Foundation that organized the awards event.

According to a six point summary of the Findings which is based on the evidence adduced by the Committee, during its public and in-camera hearings, there is evidence that the initial conception of the event had President Akufo-Addo as the center of attraction, and that the President of MEF, Mr Ashim Morton later forged documents to desperately cover up facts.

The report indicted the Trade and Industry Ministry for contravening the existing law on public financial management, particularly the Financial Administration Regulations, by allowing the use of an existing account for the receipt of monies that were claimed to be private funds.

It said also that the Millennium Excellence Foundation engaged in deceitful practices in the process of the organization of the awards event by selecting companies for awards even when the companies had not submitted information meeting the designed criteria; and also forged documents meant to deceive the Committee and Parliament.

CONCLUSION – SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

In light of the evidence adduced before the Committee, we are convinced that:

  1. In the overall circumstances surrounding the organization of the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, whilst the proponent of the motion could not justify his use of the word “levy” from a legal-technical point of view, it cannot be denied that, from the evidence on record, the Ministry of Trade and Industry played a pre-eminent role in the determination of the amounts ‘solicited’ by the MEF. In short, the manner in which the sponsorship package was designed and executed conforms to Honourable Muhammed-Muntaka Mubarak’s conception of a levy as “money that you have to pay.” The pre-determined sums of money were paid with the backing of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the agency with oversight responsibility for the business sector of the economy;
  2. Notwithstanding denials to the contrary, there is evidence on record to the effect that, in its initial conception, the event had the President of the Republic as the center of attraction and that payment for seats bore a direct relationship to the distance of the payor’s seat from the presidential high table. Furthermore, the evidence shows clearly that Mr. Ashim Morton forged documents in a desperate attempt to cover up this blatant fact;
  3. The Ministry of Trade and Industry contravened existing law on public financial management, particularly the Financial Administration Regulations, by allowing the use of an existing account for the receipt of monies that it claimed were private funds;
  4. The Ministry of Trade and Industry engaged in serious ethical violations by allowing its credibility as a public agency to be used to amass profit for a private non-profit organization which it cannot hold to public standards of accountability as well as by using the name of the President of the Republic as a means to make such profit;
  5. The MEF engaged in deceitful practices in the process of the organization of the awards event by selecting companies for awards even when the companies had not submitted information meeting the designed criteria and also forged documents meant to deceive the Committee and Parliament as a whole; and
  6. The Ministry of Trade and Industry failed or neglected to take account of possible violations of foreign corrupt practice laws and regulations in the conception, design and organization of the expatriate business awards.

Source: ghananewsonline.com.gh

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