North Tongu Member of Parliament (MP) Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has branded the president as an “intolerant” leader after he dismissed the cash-for-seat probe as “flimsy.”
The former Deputy Education Minister said president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s comment at a meeting with journalists Wednesday bastardises the work of the five-member Cash-for-seat Investigative Committee.
The president had expressed worry about a “new trend” in the country, where every allegation against government appointees, no matter how flimsy it is, gains prominence.
President Akufo-Addo at the encounter with the media Wednesday
He cited the ongoing probe into the alleged sale of presidential seats by Trades Minister Alan Kyeremanten, a claim he had dismissed after receiving a thorough explanation from the Minister.
At least four people have appeared before the committee namely Minority Chief whip, Muntaka Mubarak, Mr Ablakwa, Mr Kyeremanten and Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) president Ashim Morton.
Interplast Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Saeed Fahkry was alleged to have paid $100,000 to sit close to the president at the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA) last year. He was later awarded at the event.
[L-R] Mr Akufo-Addo, Mr Fahkry and Mr Kyeremanten
“I don’t see why Saeed Fahkry will pay money to sit by me,” the president responded to a question on the matter.
Confessing his love for Lebanese food, president Akufo-Addo said the Interplast boss has been his longstanding friend.
“I eat in his house. He eats in my house. He has my telephone number [and] I have his. Even after I became president I have eaten in his house a couple of times,” the president said.
But Mr Ablakwa said the president should have ignored the bait to wade into a matter that is a subject of a Parliamentary probe.
“The president should have resisted the temptation to engage in such utter prejudicial [comment],” he said.
He clarified why no committee was set up to probe the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Limited and the Ford Expedition vehicle gifted former John Mahama by a Burkinabe contractor Djibril Kanazoe.
Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah
“President who’s been in parliament for 12 good years knows that Order 93 is very clear [that] if there is a particular matter [before] another arm of government parliament will not have to be looking into it,” he said.
But Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah defended president Akufo-Addo’s comment, saying it is not different from commentaries given on the matter by the Minority.
“They [opposition lawmakers] in the initial stages made a lot of prejudicial comments...they talked of extortion, then they talked about levies. Let us not begin to walk back on [their] initial comment,” he said.
He was convinced the president did not undermine Parliament’s probe, adding no amount of commentary by the minority on the matter can undo the evidence before the Committee.
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