The Muntaka Pampers/Khebab scandal that rocked the government of President John Evans Atta Mills and caused the six-month-old administration its first political casualty, is bound to linger on for years.
Even though National Security and President Mills say they have dealt with the matter conclusively, indications are that more can of worms could be opened on the matter one of these fine days.
This is because one of the victims in the matter has not only expressed his displeasure at the way the matter was handled, but also dragged the government to court. Mr. Albert Anthony Ampong, the interdicted Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has sued both the Attorney-General and Head of Civil Service over the manner in which the matter was handled. In a suit dated 7th July 2009 and filed at the Accra Fast Track High Court, the applicant called for a Judicial Review because he strongly believes the President’s decision to accept the National Security report hook, line and sinker was unlawful.
He also prayed the court to set an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the Head of Civil Service to carry out the President’s directive on the grounds that it was a gross violation of the process. Mr. Ampong further asked for an order of mandamus to compel the Head of Civil Service to allow him to resume normal duties as Chief Director. The grounds of seeking the above reliefs are procedural impropriety, illegality and want of power under the Civil Service Act, unreasonableness, capriciousness, arbitrariness and unfairness on the part of both government and the Head of Civil Service.
In an affidavit in support of the suit, the applicant contended that even though he was not the subject of the National Security investigations, he, a witness, was interdicted. According to him, the four-man team failed to bring him and the former Sports Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, to cross examine each on the issue of the $20,000, which he insisted he gave to the former minister.“....it is pertinent to note that at the time I was called to appear before the committee, the honourable minister had already appeared before the committee and given evidence in my absence”.
He said not only was he denied access to his lawyer during his interrogation, but that the committee failed to record the several protests he made during the interrogation, even though he was assured the protests would appear in the final report. On the second respondent, the applicant said if for anything at all, it is the Civil Service Council that had any disciplinary authority in such matters and not the Head of Civil Service. It is recalled that following the ‘Muntaka Pampers Saga’, both Ampong and Adim Odoom, the Principal Accountant who opened the can of worms at the ministry, were interdicted.
Their letters of interdiction, dated 3rd July 2009 and signed by Joe D. Issachar, Head of the Civil Service, noted that the President, John Evans Atta Mills, had accepted the findings of the National Security Report. While on interdiction, the two will be paid half their gross salaries provided they did not owe government. In addition, they would not be permitted to leave the country without the permission of the Head of Civil Service. Muntaka was compelled to resign less than three months after he was sworn in as Sports Minister, following serious questions about his moral life, part of which cost the state some financial loss. What let the cat out of the bag was a 17-point petition the principal accountant submitted to the President.
Interestingly, the National Security report on the petition said they could not establish any of the allegations, except a few question marks about Muntaka’s moral life. With the current legal battle in place, observers say more rot at the ministry will be exposed, some of which could border on some recent World Cup qualifiers which the Black Stars won.
Source: Daily Guide
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