Parliament is set to begin public hearing and a live telecast of the probe into the cash-for-seat scandal, Thursday.
The five-member ad-hoc committee is to unravel the circumstances under which the Trades Ministry allegedly extorted up to $100,000 from expatriate business personalities for the organization of the expatriate business awards ceremony on December 8, 2017.
The ad-hoc committee made up of two minority members and three majority members was set up after an urgent motion was considered on the floor last week.
The terms of reference of the committee are as follows:
1. To investigate the alleged levy and collection of sums of money by the Ministry of Trade and Industry from expatriate businesses during the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards event in Accra;
2. To inquire whether any payments were made and received and, if so, how disbursement was effected and whether any such disbursement offended any law;
3. To investigate any relevant related matters, and
4. To recommend appropriate measures aimed at redressing violations, if any, that may have occurred and the prevention of any such violations; and report to Parliament on the 24th of January, 2018.
Spokesperson and a member of the committee Yaw Buabeng Asamoah told Joy News they have so far met to draw the guidelines as well as spell out the rules and modalities for the hearing.
According to him, they are sending invitations to persons linked to the scandal and may be open to written submissions or personal testimonies.
The Trades Ministry has attempted to explain the circumstances under which it was involved in raising monies for the organization of the expatriate awards ceremony.
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak had alleged some of the expats paid $100,000 in order to be given seats closer to that of the president who was scheduled to attend the awards ceremony.
The Deputy Trades Ministry Carlos Ahenkora did not deny taking the monies but said the ministry’s accounts were used to facilitate the collection of the amounts from the expats but the proceeds were then paid to the Millennium Excellence group, the organizers of the awards night.
His explanation did not go down well with some members of the public forcing the presidency to summon the minister and to seek information on what happened.
After meeting with Alan Kyeremanten, the presidency said there won wrongdoing and charged the minister to provide the public details of what actually transpired.
Even though he did, the minority in Parliament was not convinced. They filed for an urgent motion on the floor and called for a probe into the matter.
The speaker granted their wish and constituted a five-member ad-hoc committee in line with parliamentary procedures. The members of the committee are; Ameyaw Kyeremeh (Chairman), Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, Mark Assibey Yeboah, James Klutse Avedzi, and Dominic Ayine.
Even before the committee will begin sitting, the Minority Chief Whip is complaining about the manner in which the terms of reference was set.
According to him, there was no discussion at all on the matter, insisting the Speaker breached faith by announcing details of the terms of reference without consulting the minority.
He claimed the terms were so broad nothing substantial could be achieved after the hearing.
Yaw Buabeng Asamoah
But in a response Yaw Buabeng Asamaoh said the claims by Muntaka were unfounded.
He explained the terms of reference were an extrapolation of what was contained in the motion and that the terms were agreed by all members in the ad-hoc committee.
He noted they will investigate and allegations, who paid what and how the monies were collected.