MPs sit today over extortion claims at Expatriate Business Awards

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Parliament will later today [Friday], convene an urgent sitting called at the instance of the Minority.

Last week, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, seconded by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, with support from over 40 MPs, requesting a recall of the house.

Days after the Minority’s letter to the Speaker, a memo was issued calling on Members of Parliament to report for sitting in the first week of January, well ahead of the expected resumption date much later in January.

Today’s emergency sitting is to consider a motion on the alleged extortion of monies from expatriates at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards awards ceremony in December 2017, in order to guarantee them a seat close to the President.

According to the Minority, expatriates at the Awards event were charged between $25,000 and $100,000 to sit close to the President.

The allegation has since been denied, and President Nana Akufo-Addo, after a briefing from the Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten, said he found no evidence of wrongdoing.

The Majority and some Civil Society groups have called today’s meeting a waste of resources especially when the house will properly be in session later this month.

Background

The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, first made these allegation in Parliament.

Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) 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.

Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Member of Parliament for Asawase

The issue 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 and Industry has already dissociated itself from these allegations.

The Trade Ministry, in a statement, 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.

The organizers of the Awards have also explained that no one paid to sit close to the President, and that the over 2 million cedis that was raised were gotten from sponsorship through a fundraising at the event.

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