23 Expats Witnesses Boycott Probe Committee

….Cash-For-Seat Probe:

Over 23 expatriate businessmen who were billed to appear as witnesses before parliamentary adhoc committee investigating the ‘cash-for-seat’ saga has boycotted the hearing today.

It was not clear what might have caused such action but information from the committee indicated that, the expatriate businessmen wanted an In-Camera hearing so they could tell their side of the story on the scandal that caught the international community.

Chairman of the five member committee, Hon Kwesi Amenyaw-Cheremeh told Parliamentary Press Corp that, the committee invited the witnesses from the business community to appear before the committee at 10:00 am, but as at 11:12 am the witness did not appear and also not communicated their reasons.

As a results, the committee adjourned sitting till they communicate with the witness to found out what might have caused them to failed to appear to give evidence before the committee.

Information gathered pointed that the  business men are requesting an in-camera sitting instead of the public one the committee has been having over the weeks.

Spokesperson for the committee and MP for Adentan Hon Yaw Buaben Asamoah told the media Tuesday they will consider the In-camera meeting request being asked by the expatriates.

“We have had to adjourn early today because of scheduling mishap. We were expecting the expatriate committee to appear before us today but it appears there have been some roadblocks and therefore the committee has had to adjourn today’s sitting to reengage the expected witnesses in the expatriate community. As soon as we have the road map, we will communicate it,” he said.

The committee has since heard evidence of some members of the minority including Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who have alleged wrongdoing in the event.

Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen has also appeared before the committee and  insist there were no wrong deals in the awards event.

On Monday this week,  the committee also took evidence from officials of the Millennium Excellence Awards led by it’s President Ashim Morton and Ambassador Victor Gbeho, Chairman of the Millennium Excellence Foundation.

Testifying before the committee Ambassador Gbeho,  debunked allegation that expatriate business tycoons paid  a whopping $100.000.00 to sit close to President Akufo-Addo at the recent Ghana Expatriates Business Awards(GEBA) last year.

According him, the Foundation,  “found voluntary sponsors to support the first class event that was held. It did not sell seats for cash nor was any expatriate firm excluded from the attendance of the event because it did not sponsor.”

“We did not coerce or levy any person or institution to come out with sums of money that would enable them to sit next to the head of state [President Akufo-Addo],” Mr  told the five-member Parliamentary Committee probing what is now referred as ‘Cash-for-Seat’ saga in Accra yesterday.

He continued, “Indeed, it is a fact that most of the VIPs [Very Important Personalities] seated on the presidential table did not pay sponsorship of the alleged $100.000.00 before the gala event. Finally, Mr. Chairman the Foundation did not participate nor encouraged any stratagem to steal from any businessman or government.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, on January 5, 2018 set up the  bipartisan five-member committee at the behest of the Minority in Parliament to probe the saga.

The committee is opened to the public was formed after an emergency recall of parliament at the behest of the minority, who have insisted there was a wrongdoing on the side of the ministry.

 

Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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