Gov’t embargoes ex-gratia of 13 former ministers

Posted: April 7, 2010 in Politics
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Intelligence gathered by The Chronicle indicates that the government has placed an embargo on the remaining end-of-service benefits of 13 former ministers who served in the previous Kufuor administration.

Sources at the Castle, seat of government, revealed that the government had placed the embargo on the outstanding amount due the former ministers, for no apparent reason.

A senior government official is said have issued a directive to the Bank of Ghana to stop the payment of the cheque, which was issued on Tuesday, March 23rd, this year, and dated December 23, 2009, for the former ministers of state.

The situation is said to have aggravated the anger of the former ministers, who had persistently engaged the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, for the remaining part of their end-of-service gratuities.

Some of the beneficiaries include Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Member of Parliament (MP) for Weija, Madam Esther Obeng Dappah, former Minister of Lands and Forestry and MP for Abirem, Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, former Minister of State at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and MP for Bantama.

Others are Mr. Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, former Ashanti Regional Minister and MP for Kwabre West, Mr. Ernest Akubuor Debrah, former Minister of Food and Agriculture and MP for Tano North, Madam Gifty Ohene Konadu, former Deputy Minister of Trade and MP for Asante Akim South.

When The Chronicle contacted Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, she confirmed the story, and wondered why the government took that decision without their consent, after having issued a cheque to effect payment of their outstanding entitlements.“Why do you have to go and stop the bank from paying us,” she queried fuming.

Madam Esther Obeng Dappah, when reached on her mobile handset, also confirmed the story, and wondered what had informed government to place the embargo on their gratuities.

“This is so deceptive. Why do you have to wait for us to go on recess before you issue a cheque, and later stop the bank from effecting payment?” she queried.

The Minority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, in a telephone interview with The Chronicle from Dubai, also confirmed the story, and described the incident as unfortunate.

According to him, the cheques were brought to Parliament on Tuesday evening, March 23rd, this year, and distributed them to the beneficiaries the following day.

He explained that Madam Gifty Ohene Kunadu’s name was not on the list, whilst Mr. Emmanuel Owusu Ansah’s name was wrongly spelt on the cheque, and therefore, the two decided to contact the Castle, but were told not to worry, as an embargo had been placed on the cheque. “This is most dishonest. I don’t think this government wants anybody to take them serious,” he noted.

Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu is in Dubai en-rout to Thailand to attend a world conference for parliamentarians with the Speaker of Parliament, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, and Mr. Emmanuel Anyimadu, Clerk to Parliament.

However, several attempts to get Mr. Martey Newman, Chief of Staff, Mr. John Tia, Minister of Information, and his two deputies for the government’s side of the story, proved futile, as their mobile handsets were either switched off, or out of coverage area.

The former ministers have for sometime now, been battling Dr. Kwabena Duffuor for the remaining amount of their end-of-service entitlements, which has been outstanding for over a year now.

They had questioned Dr. Kwabena Duffuor why their entitlements were not fully paid, but were told it was due to some errors in the calculations on the documents to effect the payment.

Dr. Kwabena Duffuor was said to have promised to effect payment of the outstanding entitlement immediately the errors were corrected, but nothing was heard from him until the former ministers called on him again at his office.

They were also said to have engaged him in a closed-door sitting, immediately after the President delivered his State of the Nation Address on February 25th, 2010.

The Chronicle gathered that irrespective of the numerous promises made by the Finance Minister, nothing was heard from him, until last Tuesday, when a cheque was issued at the Castle, seat of Government, to effect payment.

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