The chairman of the Presidential commission of inquiry, set to look into the [email protected] celebrations, Justice Isaac Duose yesterday threw caution to the wind, when he called on all former District Chief Executives (DCEs) AND Municipal Chief Executives (MCEs) to voluntarily appear before the Commission before the security agents are unleashed on them.
It is not only former DCEs and MCE’s who are being sought after but all former Regional Ministers who served under former President J.A. Kufuor during the period of the celebrations. The Chairman of the Commission handed them an ultimatum of Friday October 23 to surrender themselves, else State Security agents with the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) on top of the list to be set loose on them.
“If we cannot serve them with subpoena, we shall resort to the security agencies,” Justice Duose cautioned and advised that “they should know that they are wanted”. The mention of the possible intervention of the BNI in hauling the former officials before the Commission apparently caused some kind of uneasiness among people at the hearing.
The former Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Kwadwo O. Mpiani, who is yet to recover from his encounter with the BNI few months ago who was also at the hearing quickly rose up and appealed to the Commission to find different means of contacting the ‘wanted officials’ instead of resorting to the use of state security.
the emotional appeal by Mr. Mpiani could not soften the stance of the Commission as the Chairman answered back saying “we are appealing …if you push us we shall get there.”
The seeming fiat from Justice Duose nearly took away the shine from an elaborate and eloquent submission by Dr Charles Wereko-Brobbey, Chief Executive of the defunct [email protected] Secretariat.
Dr Wereko-Brobbey commonly known as Tarzan who was on his second appearance at the Commission passed through a breathtaking 5-hour grilling where he answered questions from the number of uncompleted toilet facilities to the construction of AU village buildings at La Wireless and Cantonments. He observed that in the estimation of the Secretariat the celebration “was a roaring success.”
Dr Wereko-Brobbey debunked assertions that the Secretariat was engaged in profligate spending considering the fleet of sleek vehicles they bought for the state. He explained that it was a requirement that a minimum of 250 flashy vehicles were purchased for the hosting of the African Union (AU) summit in Accra Aside hosting of the AU Summit, Dr Wereko-Brobbey submitted that government had committed itself to hosting international programmes such as AGOA, UNCTAD XII, CAN ‘08and international Climate Change Summit which required extensive use of sleek vehicles.
He disclosed that, immediately after the hosting of the AU Summit, government started selling some of the vehicles as planned Giving the breakdown of the number of vehicles purchased and sold, ‘Tarzan’ said 45 of the 50 purchased Mercedes Benz were sold, 37 of the 50 BMW were sold and only 1 out of the 40 Peugeout vehicles was sold. Out of the 25 Mercedes buses purchased, Dr Wereko-Brobbey said none was sold.
When the Commission sought from the Dr Wereko-Brobbey the extent to which the Secretariat supervised and monitored activities from the District Assemblies, he said “the Secretariat wrote letters requesting the Districts to account.” He argued that since the districts were the spending officers, “ultimately, the responsibility lies with them.”
His submission did not go down well with a member of the 3-Member Commission, Mr Osei Tutu Prempeh. He indicated that since ‘Tarzan’ was the head of the national implementing outfit, he (Dr Wereko-Brobbey), “should ultimately be held responsible if anything went amiss.”
Mr Prempeh, who posed avalanche of questions asked Dr Wereko Brobbey how he monitored whether the GH˘150,000,000 given to each region had “judiciously, effectively, efficiently and economically” been put to use.
He requested Dr Wereko-Brobbey to provide to the Commission the criteria used to dispense of the vehicles and at what cost. He also wanted a “full list” of sponsors and how much each provided in cash and in kind. He again requested of Dr. Wereko-Brobbey to “do what you can today and bring what you can tomorrow.”
Commenting on the contract for the production of the official cloth for the [email protected] Dr Wereko Brobbey stated clearly that about 28 local companies applied for the printing of the cloth.
“Letters were written to Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) and Printex and Management of ATL said they were not interested”, he said. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) explained that Printex Ghana Limited printed the cloths on pre-payment terms. “My Lord I am not sure about the distribution of the cloth because for a company like Printex, what I know is they produce on large quantities and distribute it to their wholesalers at large.”
When queried about how the African Union (AU) was put up, Dr Wereko-Brobbey who took in some water to quench his throat before answering the Commission said the houses were put up to host the Presidents who were invited for the [email protected] celebrations and also host the African Union summit which was held in the country the same year.
The CEO who was well composed throughout the grilling told the Commission that the construction of the said (AU) buildings were not completed on time before the celebrations, so the members of the [email protected] Committee suggested that a proper place be rented to host the Presidents and another special guests.
“So we came into an arrangement with Trassaco, a private estate developer in the country and we negotiated with the management to assist us to host some of the guests in their premises, we did paid money for their furnished of the said house located to us”, he said.
Although, the said AU village houses did not meet the day for the celebrations, he submitted that, it met the AU Summit CAN 2008 and others.
Dr Wereko-Brobbey hinted that about GH˘3.9m accrued from the sale of the houses was used to help settle some debts by the Secretariat.
Contrary to assertions that the government was cash trapped to make do the debts Tarzan declared “There is sufficient money sitting in the government account and that would enable them pay the contractors,” he stated.
The CEO whose term of appointment ended February, 2009, rubbished some of the allegations saying that the reason why some contractors were not paid was due to lack of cash flow from the side of the government “and not me Dr Wereko-Brobbey.”
“The paymaster is the government,” he reiterated.
Dr Wereko-Brobbey noted that calendars, T-shirts and other items were distributed freely to civil servants in the country.
Asked about the financial account of the Secretariat, he told the Commission and the general public to stay tuned for a comprehensive account today. The Commission continues sitting today with Dr Wereko-Brobbey making his third and possible final appearance.
Source: The New Crusading Guide
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