If the National Hajj Board is indebted, the current leadership must work to fix it and stop whining about the problem, Mr Mohammed Amin Lamptey, a former Spokesperson of the Board under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, has said.
According to him, given how the board operates, it will certainly be saddled with some financial constraints that the leadership must always come to terms with.
His comments follow concerns raised by Sheikh I.C. Quaye, the current chairman of the Board that funds paid by last year’s unsuccessful pilgrims to the previous board cannot be traced and that but for the “benevolence of President Akufo-Addo,” the unsuccessful pilgrims would not have been included in this year’s hajj pilgrimage.
Sheikh I.C. Quaye made this known Tuesday after MTN had presented a refurbished Hajj village to the Hajj Board chairman.
Sheikh Quaye said the decision to include the pilgrims was based purely on compassionate grounds because the pilgrims had “come to us wailing and crying so we had compassion for them and, therefore, we have approached the Good Samaritan and he is the President of the Republic of Ghana.”
The former Member of Parliament for Ayawaso Central constituency insisted that “it is condemnable for pilgrims to pay money and be left out and the money cannot be found till today.”
But reacting to these comments in an interview on Accra News on Thursday August 3, Mr Lamptey noted that the timing of this remark by Sheik Quaye is problematic because it has the propensity of affecting the morale of the pilgrims.
“Over the years, every Hajj Board has inherited some form of debts at the National Hajj Committee but what we try to do is to manage the debt and try to settle them.
“We have some few to go for the pilgrimage this year and so this statement that the committee is highly indebted or some money is missing beats our imagination. Hajj is about Ghana, it is about religion. …During the transition period we had series of meetings with the Honourable Abu Jinapor, Deputy Chief of Staff and everything became clear, every question was answered and so why this comment?
“There is no way you can have hajj committee without one or two challenges and so if they have met debts they should fix it.”