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‘I’m Ready to Pay for Items Given Out For Free’
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The Former Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barima, yesterday told the Presidential Commission probing the activities of the [email protected] secretariat that he is ready to pay for cloths that he had given out for free.

He said he gave them to poor people, chiefs and some opinion leaders in the region for free because he believed that it was a national celebration and that those people should not be left out.

He said sometime in February 2007, he came to Accra to attend to certain things, and had a call to come to the [email protected] Secretariat for a discussion. He said while there he was told that the secretariat would send some consignment of anniversary cloths to the region, and that they wanted him to take personal responsibility of the cloths and distribute them. He said he accepted the directive and returned to the region, and 10 days later he had a call from the GTP that some bales of the [email protected] anniversary cloth had arrived so he should go for them.

He said he contacted the stores department at the region for the clothes to be kept there. He said the Chief Executive Officer of the [email protected] Secretariat asked that the regional administration should look for traders to collect them for sale.

He said whereas Suhum and New Juabeng districts nominated traders to collect the cloths, the other districts did not but rather asked representatives to do that.

He said he had a call from his secretary that some people had come there with money to collect the anniversary cloths, and he directed that they should be catered for. He said the consignment was around 1000 pieces so it was not possible to give the people the 50 pieces each they had been promised. Mr Barima said they gave the various representatives chits to enable them to collect the cloths from the stores.

Mr Barima said some of the cloths were sent to him at the residency because the GTP staff were closing for the weekend and it was not possible to cater for those who might go there to collect their allocations.

He said he directed that the cloths be brought to his residence so that when the DCEs came they could be supplied from there. According to Mr Barima, after the initial distribution was done at the GTP stores, another consignment was sent to his residence from the secretariat through the GTP.

He said he contacted the DCEs and asked those who wanted more to come for them. He said some districts were yet to pay for what they collected. Mr Barima said in all, a total of 2000 pieces of cloth was sent to the region, 400 pieces representing eight bales were left in the custody of the regional co-ordinating director, 1088 pieces were distributed to the various DCEs.

Mr Barima said the proceeds from the quantity sold was sent to the secretariat and the balance, which was accounted for, was ready. He confirmed that Mr Nyarko-Adu took 80 pieces and not 100 pieces as was indicated on the waybill.

Mr Barima said as the head of a district some traditional rulers, opinion leaders and poor people would come to you for free cloth. He said as a national celebration it was not meant for the well-to-do only hence his decision to give out some of the cloths to some poor people.

The chairman invited a trader, Madam Agartha Serwaa, to tell the commission what she went through when selling the cloths.
The trader said she could not sell all the consignment given to her because it came late and people could not buy them for their seamstress to sow.

For his part, the former Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, said he received the proceedings of the commission only that morning.

To this the chairman expressed surprise because when the allegation was made against Mr Dzamesi he was on air reacting to the allegations.
The chairman said he should have attended the proceedings earlier on and studied them. Mr Dzamesi said the last three pages of the proceedings appeared as the regional minister was the regional co-ordinating director. He said he had never been a dictator. He told the commission that he never took decisions alone and that a regional committee was put together to plan the celebration.

Mr Dzamesi said 10 air-conditioners were installed in the jubilee hall and the presidential lounge, which were all at the residency. This might have made some people to perceive that the air-conditioners were installed at the presidential lodge, mistaking it to be his bedroom. He said the jubilee park had now become a commercial place where people paid money to have their programmes.

The former Greater Accra regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr Fats Nartey, said the region was allocated 5,000 T-shirts and 3,000 caps, which were distributed to the general public.

Mr Nartey said they understood the directive to mean that the souvenir items were to be given out for free. He said the regional administration had always distributed souvenirs and items of such nature for free during national anniversary celebrations.

According to the regional co-ordinating director the only letter they received was on how to spend the money given to them by the [email protected] Secretariat. He told the commission that they met several times to come out with a formula on how to distribute the souvenirs but could not arrive at any formula till there was a change of government. He said the regional administration now had a formula and if the commission gave them the go ahead they would distribute the items.
Source: Daily Graphic

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