National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency, Okudzeto Ablakwa says he is unperturbed by the Speaker of Parliament’s referral of the report presented by the Committee that investigated alleged extortion of expatriates during the 2017 Ghana Expatriates Business Awards, to the Privileges Committee.
According to Ablakwa, who was adamant on the allegations that the Ministry of Trade and organizers of the awards collected monies ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 from the expatriates to enable them to sit close to President Akufo-Addo at the awards, he cannot be intimidated by the directive.
“I am not one to be intimidated in the discharge of my constitutional duties, therefore, I can’t wait to appear before the Privileges Committee or any other Committee as the Speaker may so direct considering that I am of the fullest conviction and the clearest of conscience that the facts and the truth are and have always been on our side,” he added in a Facebook post.
The Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday referred the findings of the 5-member ad-hoc committee to the privileges committee tasking the committee to investigate the source of the allegations and other related matters.
This follows the adoption of the 146-page report of the committee chaired by Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, which exonerated the Trades and Industry Ministry and organizers of the awards of any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Minority has said the adopted report is far from the truth and thus, did not participate in the debate on Tuesday.
And Ablakwa, who was one of the main witnesses in the case believes the Majority is trying to suppress the Minority’s views. adding that such an action “can only amount to a travesty in Parliament [and] is a pathetic addition to the countless comedy of contradictions and conflicting accounts that Government has been engaged in since this scandal erupted.”
Ashim Morton to sue Ablakwa, Muntaka?
In a related development, the Millennium Excellence Foundation, the organization that hosted the awards, has said it is considering a court action against two minority Members of Parliament over the cash-for-seat allegations.
According to the lawyer for the foundation, Peter Zwennes, the two MPs – Okudzeto Ablakwa and the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak, should be stripped of any parliamentary immunity in order for them to be dragged to court, because their actions were “irresponsible.”
“The propagation of such irresponsible and destructive falsehood made against my client should not be availed the cloak of parliamentary immunity which, if had been said in anywhere else in the open, will certainly be giving rise to a meritorious court action in defamation. The foundation is still considering its options and they are still available to us,” the lawyer stated at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday.
Below is Ablakwa’s full post:
Rather a farcical fatal tragedy that the Majority in Parliament could not suppress partisan interest in favour of their conscience and the national interest in the Cash for Seat Scandal.
Thankful to God, the proceedings of the Special Committee were conducted in the full glare of the public making today’s attempted cover-up in Parliament laughable and an exercise in futility.
Ghanaians have always been discerning and know Founder Chairman Ambassador President Ashim Morton cannot take President Akufo-Addo’s place. More fundamentally; Ghanaians know it cannot be right, ethical, moral, legal nor conscionable to sell access to the President of Ghana to the highest bidder.
Today’s charade which can only amount to a travesty in Parliament is a pathetic addition to the countless comedy of contradictions and conflicting accounts that Government has been engaged in since this scandal erupted.
I am not one to be intimidated in the discharge of my constitutional duties, therefore, I can’t wait to appear before the Privileges Committee or any other Committee as the Speaker may so direct considering that I am of the fullest conviction and the clearest of conscience that the facts and the truth are and have always been on our side.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
MP, North Tongu