Information reaching the Daily Guide newspaper indicates that President John Evans Atta Mills yesterday gave his four appointees who have been smeared with bribery allegation, the humble option of stepping aside while investigations continue or face the embarrassment of being booted out.
The political appointees reportedly given the hard option by President Mills included Dr George Adjah-Sipa Yankey Health Minister; Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister and current Board Chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT); Alhaji Baba Kamara, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, and Hon. Amadu Seidu, Minister of State at the Office of the President.
At a ‘marathon’ crisis meeting at the Castle yesterday it was gathered that the appointees at a point had one-on-one appointments with the President to tell their stories separately. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, has been tasked to probe the bribery scandal.
The quartet, along with three others, Alhaji Boniface Saddique, former Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister; Ato Quarshie, former Roads and highways Minister under Jerry Rawlings; and Kwame Ofori, also known as Danny Ofori Atta of Egle Party-NDC, were cited in a Southwark Crown Court in London, which heard the corruption related case involving Mabey & Johnson, a British construction firm that constructed bridges in Ghana in the 1990s.
According to Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the meeting was to appraise the President of the extent of involvement of the indicted persons, some of whom are currently serving in his government.Interestingly, at the time of the court ruling in London, Dr Adjah Sipa Yankey was with President Atta Mills at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA.
Observers also say the meeting was hurriedly called in order to equip the Attorney-General, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, who was expected to fly out last night to London to request details of the alleged crime from the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
President Mills, who had just returned from a hectic 10-day trip to the US, Venezuela and Britain, was slapped in the face, even before he emplaned back home, with the stinking revelation, which is being described as politically destructive.
So critical was the one-point agendum that the President failed to attend the National Teachers Award ceremony in Ho, the first to be held since he took over the reigns of government.Daily Guide gathered that it look the President a hell of a time to get the ‘bribe takers’ to the meeting grounds as many of them reportedly switched off their phones and had to be virtually dragged from their homes for the meeting, which was held behind closed doors.
It would be recalled that officials of the UK firm, Mabey & Johnson, at a London court trial concluded recently, confessed to giving various sums of money to some public officials in some countries including Ghana, to influence the award of contracts for its benefits.
The officials told the court that in the 1990s when the company operated in Ghana, they doled out various sums of monies to persons who either were in government, or had the connections to influence decision makers to help the company win contracts in the country.
Apart from former Works and Housing Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, who admitted to taking £500 when he was a desk officer at the Ministry of Finance, with the explanation that it was to assist his education, all the others have remained silent on the matter.
The British Court stated in its ruling that Dr George Adjah-Sipa Yankey, Minister of Health, took £15,000 as his share of the booty while Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Minister of State at the Officer of the President, Osu Castle, had over £10,000 and Dr Ato Quarshie, former Minister of Roads and Highways collected a whopping £55,000.
Other NDC gurus mentioned in the scandal are Kwame Peprah, SSNIT Board Chairman and former Minister of Finance, who incidentally had served prison terms with Dr Yankey over the Quality Grain scandal where over £20million was paid to an American woman for the cultivation of rice at Aveyime in the Volta Region and Alhaji Baba Kamara, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria and former NDC Deputy National Treasurer.
President Mills has since dispatched the Attorney General to follow up on the case in the UK to access at first hand, information on the development to help the government deal with the issue appropriately.
“It’s true, I’m leaving tonight… I have an appointment with the SFO on Tuesday morning…Whether we will continue with investigations here (Ghana) will depend on the information I receive there. Whether it is adequate enough, it’s a whole lot, it’s a whole lot… I’m requesting for information from them… what I’m telling you is even confidential,” she said on Peace FM’s morning programme, Kokrokoo.
Source: Daily Guide
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