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The Member Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, has said the failure of the expatriate business men to appear before the Committee probing the cash for seat saga is a disrespect to parliament which should not be countenanced.
In an interview with Kofi Oppong Asamoah on the Morning Xpress on Wednesday, the MP who is also a legal practitioner said the expats who are witnesses to the allegations of extortion by the Trade and Industry Ministry should have appeared before the committee to give their account of the matter as required of them.
“It is very strange that material witness in a matter such as this will decline to testify. . . “It is a disrespect to the House,” he added and said the witnesses have to be subpoenaed.
“They must be subpoenaed and if they fail to appear, then it could be said that they been compromised,” he stated.
To him, they were supposed to respect the parliament of the Republic of Ghana and appear before the committee to clear any doubts Ghanaians may have had in their minds.
Explaining the importance of the ad hoc committee, Mr. Dafeamekpor said “We are not doing so to suit the whims of the right Honourable Speaker. This is the parliament of Ghana conducting such an important exercise. It is a fact finding committee not an adjudicating committee. It is just to establish the bare facts surrounding the saga.”
Asking for the expats to be hauled before the committee, he indicated that if the expats business men ask for their part of the account to be heard in-camera, their request should be granted because what is needed from them is the testimony they will deliver.
He continued that the facts of all the accounts given will later add up to the final findings which will be a public document after the committee finishes with its work, so a request of that nature should be granted when it is put before the committee.
Meanwhile, a senior lecturer at the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana has supported the expats’ refusal to honour the invitation from the committee.
Dr. Ebo Turkson who spoke on News Wire on Tuesday evening, noted that the companies cited in the expatriate business company award saga did not want to compromise on their corporate image because of the implications in the international investment community.
“I think the expat business men are being very strategic. they have businesses and they want to protect their businesses. The answers that they might give to the issue at stake might mean one or the other because the committee members are from the two sides of the political divide. . .so as business men, they don’t want to go and be at the centre of this. I think, for them as business men, they are doing the right thing,” said the Economist.
He further counselled that if the committee really wants to get some answers from the expat business persons who have been mentioned in the saga, an in-camera session will have to be scheduled for them to prevent any adversities thereof.
“. . The issue that has come up is a political issue and so I didn’t expect them to be called to a public hearing. Whatever evidence that was needed from them as to what actually happened before or after the function, that information could have been gotten from them without necessarily having them come to a public hearing,” he explained.
A claim was first made by Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, in December 2017, on the back of a leaked document, and alleged that the Trade Ministry had extorted monies from some expatriates to the tune of $100,000 to sit close to the President.
He argued on the floor that the monies were not approved by Parliament said it could also not be accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the Ministry’s accounts.
The Trade Ministry in a statement said it did not play any role in determining prices for seats at the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA), and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation, the award organisers.
The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a query letter on Wednesday, December 20,2017, asked the Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Alan Kyerematen to explain circumstances that led to financial demands from the expatriate business community.
The Ministry after the query from the President stated that an amount of GHc 2,667,215 was realised from the event.
The president subsequently cleared Mr. Kyeremateng of any wrongdoing regarding the controversial matter.
The exoneration then led to the minority filing a motion in parliament to set up the committee.
Source: myxyzonline.com || Morning Xpress