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Mrs Zita S. Okaikoi, Minister of Information on Thursday painted a gloomy picture of the state of affairs at her sector Ministry.

She said although the veranda of the Ministerial block had been tiled, the building itself was dirty because it had not been painted.

“The toilets are in bad state and the louvre blades in my office have not been fixed,” she said

The Minister said she was embarrassed about the state of affairs and had therefore decided that renovation works should be undertaken next year.

She said this when defence lawyers took turns to draw out answers from her in the case of Stephen Asamoah Boateng, former Minister of Information and National Orientation, his wife Zulieka Jennifer Lorwia and six other public officers.

Also in court is a non-legal entity firm, Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited (SPAL).

They are being held for various charges including conspiracy to defraud the State, deceit of public officer, defrauding by false pretences and forgery of documents.

The accused are alleged to have conspired to defraud the State of GH¢86,915.85 as a result of renovation works undertaken at the Ministerial Block of the Ministry during Asamoah Boateng’s tenure.

The officials include Frank Agyekum, former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Dominic Aloysius Yaw Sampong, former Acting Chief Director, of the Information Ministry, Kwabena Denkyira, former Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry, Yasmin Domua and Prosper Arku of SPAL.

They have pleaded not guilty before the court presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist.

The court has admitted them to bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 each with a surety.

The court, however, asked Asamoah Boateng and his wife Zuleika to deposit their passports with the Courts’ Registry adding that “the requirement of the passport would be reviewed after two months”.

Mrs Okaikoi said on assumption of office in February 26, she noticed that the windows in her office had no louvre blades.

She said the windows only had curtains fixed on them.

Currently, the Minister said the ministry’s lift system was non operational.

According to her, issue of buying a lift and generators had been included in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 budget yet nothing had been done about the items.

She pledged to ensure that both the lift and generator were bought this year and included in the 2010 budget.

The Minister said she had taken initiatives to get assistance from the United Nations Development Programme to “change things”.

When asked she knew Zulieka, she replied in the negative.

Answering questions from Mr Atta Akyea, Counsel for Denkyira, Mrs Okaikoi admitted that during the management meeting on June 8, not all the issues discussed at the meeting were captured by the recorder Mr Issa Mahama of the Ministry.

She intimated to the court that she had the audio tapes of the meeting which some of the accused persons gave several excuses on the renovation works.

The Minister disagreed with counsel that because renovation works had been undertaken on the Ministerial block Sampong ordered for payment.

Mrs Okaikoi said because there were no valid documents on the renovation works payments were halted.
Source: GNA

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