The Trade Minister has disclosed that he verbally instructed organisers of the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA) not to charge businessmen who sat on the same table as President Akufo-Addo.
According to Alan Kyeremanten, since he was not a member of the planning committee of the event, he requested to be occasionally briefed about the progress towards staging the event.
“In one of these briefing sessions this discussion came up and my understanding is that let us be sure if it is sponsorship it is only sponsorship…not that I am contributing to this event so that I get a seat close to the president,” he said.
He explained that it was just a strategic intuition on his part and an advice to the organisers.
The one-time presidential candidate of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) made the revelation when he took his turn to face a parliamentary committee probing the seat-for-cash scandal, Friday.
The Minority has accused the Trades Ministry of abusing the presidency to raise funds for the organization of the Expatriate Business Awards organized on December 8, 2017.
According to the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak, expatriate businessmen paid between ¢15,000 – 100,000 to sit close to the President at the Awards night with and other benefits.
He described the transaction as lacking transparency, highly unethical and needs to be investigated.
The Minority unimpressed with a decision from the Presidency regarding the issue demanded an urgent sitting in Parliament during which they demanded an investigation.
The Speaker agreed to the call and constituted a five member committee to look into the matter.
Taking his turn, the Trades Minister explained that the responses he got made to understand that no one was going to be charged in that regard.
“When the event was finally organised, it was clear that either it was not intended to be or my instructions were followed…Mr Chairman, at the time my understanding was that on the day of the event nobody has paid a $100,000 to sit at that high table,” he said.
However, Mr Kyeremanten agreed that the CEO of Interplast, who was at the Presidents table, gave the Ministry a cheque equivalent to $100,000 a day after the event.