The Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremateng, on Friday, named the persons who sat close to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards which has caused some controversy in the last few weeks.
Mr. Kyeremanteng said those who sat by the President were 17 in number, ranging from top business executives to key political figures.
he Trade Minister gave the list when he appeared before the five-member Parliamentary committee investigating the matter.
Below is the full list of persons on the President’s table at the awards night:
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Trade Minister, Alan Kyeremateng
Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Trade Minister
Mr Ashim Morton, President of Millennium Excellence Foundation
Mr. Amarh Hari, Chief Executive of IPMC
Mr. Ashok Mohinani, Chairman of Mohinani Group
Mr Salem Kalmoni, Chief Executive of Japan Motors
Jerry John Rawlings and his wife
Mr. Saied Fakhry, Executive Chairman of Interplast Ghana Limited
Ms. Roshi Motman, Chief Executive of AirtelTigo Ghana
Mr. Jim O’Brien, Founder and Executive Chairman of Zenith Bank Group
Mr Bhagwan Khubchandani, Chief Executive of Melcom Ghana.
Mr. David Haper, Chief Executive of Geodrill Ghana
Mr. Mike Tacwani, Chief Executive of B Pipe Plus Ghana
Yofi Grant, CEO of GIPC
Yeo Ziobeieton, Chief Executive of Unilever Ghana
Ishmael Ashitey, Greater Accra Regional Minister
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen also said his outfit did no wrong in the infamous cash for seat scandal.
According to him, a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry and the organizers of the event clearly spelt out which party was responsible for soliciting for sponsorship and collection of monies for the awards ceremony.
Making his submission to the committee probing the matter in parliament today, Mr Kyerematen said the Millennium Excellence Foundation, who were the event organizers, handled all issues of sponsorship.
The allegation of extortion against expatriates at the awards ceremony was first made by the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, in Parliament in December 2017.
Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry’s accounts.
The issue was further reinforced by Mr. Ablakwa, who suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry initially dissociated itself from these allegations.
The Trade Ministry, in a statement said it played no role in determining prices for seats at the event, and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
But the Ministry after an order from the President to probe the matter clarified that an amount of GHc 2,667,215 was realized from the event.
The organizers of the Awards had also explained that no one paid to sit close to the President and that the amount was raised from sponsorship through a fundraising at the event.
Ablakwa, Muntaka face committee
The Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Muntaka appeared before the committee in its first public sitting on Thursday to provide further details on why they called for the probe.