Kweku Baako Reveal Lawmakers Demanded US$34, 450 For Gambian Trip
Speaker Goes Furious As Akoto-Osei, Muntaka and Nitiwul opt for Secret Parliamentary Probe.
The Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako has dropped a bombshell on Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), claiming that the MPs demanded a whopping US$34, 450 sponsorship package for food, drinks and air tickets, from the mobile telecommunication firm, RLG for a trip to The Gambia.
But information available to The Herald newspaper indicates that the chairman of the PAC, Kweku Agyemang-Manu, before writing to the RLG, had written to the Clerk and Speaker of Parliament demanding a separate money for the same trip, and gotten approval from the House.
This implies that the same trip is being sponsored by two entities-Parliament and RLG.
In a spirited defense put up last week, Mr.Baako, declared a letter in his possession signed by Mr. Agyemang-Manu indicates that the MPs wrote a letter soliciting for funds from the private company.
Media reports on the US$34, 450 sponsorship yesterday,sparked grave anxiety on the floor of the House, prompting the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adzaho, directing the Privileges Committee of Parliament to investigate the embarrassing revelations by Mr. Baako.
However, ex-Minister for Finance, Anthony Akoto-Osei, expressed grave reservation on the matter being raised on the floor of the House calling it "a precedent" as many issues have been raised in the media, but did not find their way into debates in the House.
But the Speaker, directed the leadership of the House to investigate, NPP MP for Dormaa West, Mr. Agyeman Manu and report to him.
Mr. Adjaho announced that he had taken a serious view of the matter and insisted "self-regulation" is important as he fears the sponsorship could possibly place Mr. Agyeman-Manu in a conflict of interest situation.
Both Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, MP for Asewase and Dominic Nitiwul, MP for Bimbilla pushed for an indoor investigation to be conducted by the leadership of the House, though they both saw the matter as a "very serious issue".
Surprisingly, ex-National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ada, Alfred Abayatey, admitted delivering the June 17 letter read by Mr. Baako to RLG, which he personally handed over to the Osu office of the company, to be delivered to Roland Agambire.
He was shocked how the letter found its way into the hands of Mr. Baako, wondering whether the managing editor now works with RLG. He later disclosed to two radio stations that he is making attempts to withdraw the letter from RLG.
He claimed he has been working with the PAC even as an ex-MP, and delivered the letter after it was signed by Mr. Agyeman-Manu.
He did not speak to the other budget approved by Parliament on the request of the same Agyeman-Manu, but said they were no longer interested in the sponsorship.
Details picked up by The Herald indicate that PAC had long before writing to RLG for support, prepared a budget covering the delegations trip to The Gambia for a conference, which was subsequently approved by Parliament. It, therefore, came as a surprise to Parliament that Mr. Agyemang-Manu had written another letter to Rowland Agambire’s RLG demanding sponsorship for a trip had already been catered for by Ghanaian taxpayers.
Extracts from the June 17 letter read by Mr. Baako on Peace FM, last Wednesday said “It is believed that the conference which includes workshops would help Honourable Members expand their knowledge and acquire some additional skills and best practices from MPs, from other member African countries.
“The PAC of Ghana, a member of WAPA that (is the West African version) is expected to attend this conference with a delegation of 9 made up of 8 Honourable Members and a Clark to the Committee.
“To this end an amount of thirty four thousand four hundred and fifty seven dollars (US$34, 450) would be needed to cover the cost of the return air ticket business class, accommodation and meals. Due to budgetary constraint, however, the committee would not be able to bear the cost”.
“The committee will, therefore, be grateful if your institution could provide it with some support to enable the delegation participate in this important conference. Attach is the detail budget for your perusal.
“We believe strongly that your support will go a long way to enhance the capacity of the committee towards curbing fraud and corruption in the public financial management system within the West African sub-region.
And that your institution’s association with this event will bring positive exposure for our collective interest in the sub-region. I trust we can count on your trust and your support on this matter”, Editor-In-Chief of the Crusading Guide, concluded the letter.
Mr. Baako explained that what he sort to expose in this whole issue, is the double standard and inconsistencies on the part of MPs, that in one breath they are rejecting 275 free boreholes from RLG, claiming it is an attempts to compromise them, but in another breath secretly write to the same company, demanding a US$34, 450 sponsorship package for a trip to The Gambia.
He told the sit-in host of the Kokrokoo Newspaper Review Programme, Tweneboah Koduah (TK) that in the best of his opinion, the MPs could not be compromised by the 275 free boreholes and US$34, 450 from RLG.
Source: The Herald
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