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Minister debunks claims over extortion of expatriates

Carlos Kingsley Ahenkora

Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry has debunked claims by the Minority NDC that the Ministry sanctioned the franchising of President Akufu-Addo to extort monies from expatriate businesses in Ghana.

According to him, the Ministry is not responsible for the supposed charges that expatriate businesses paid during the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) in Accra.

Mr Ahenkorah rejected the claims of the Minority during an interview with the media in Parliament.

The Ghana Expatriate Business Awards is the brainchild of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, an entity noted for its prowess and credibility in the organisation of world-class events such as the Millennium Excellence Awards and the Accra Marathon.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member on the Committee of Foreign Affairs is demanding that the Ministry of Trade and Industry render an unqualified apology to Ghanaians and President Akufo-Addo, if he did not sanction the franchising of his office, to extort monies from expatriate businesses in the country.

The MP has alleged in a statement that expatriate businesses were asked to pay between $100,000 and $25,000 to determine how close they sit to President Akufo-Addo during a recent Ghana Expatriate Business Awards held on December 2, 2017.

The MP says the act desecrates the high office of President of Ghana and is tantamount to using the presidency to sell favours, and cast doubts about the credibility of the awards itself.

Mr Ahenkorah explained that, upon the conception of the novel idea, the Foundation informed the government, through the Presidency and further sought partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the organisation of the first-ever award event, targeted at recognizing and rewarding the contributions of the expatriate and naturalised expatriate community to the socio-economic advancement of the country over the decades.

He insisted that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has not sanctioned or collected any money from any expatriate businesses in the country.

He said event organisers had sought for sponsorship from the expatriate business community to set the awards.

Mr Ahenkorah also noted the event organisers set their own rates ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to raise funds from the expatriate businesses to sponsor the awards. 

He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry only signed an MOU with the event organisers and has nothing to with the raising of the sponsorship for the programme. 

He described as false the claim by Mr Ablakwa that the “act desecrates the high office of the President of Ghana and is tantamount to using the presidency to sell favours, and cast doubts about the credibility of the awards itself”.

He said the Minority is engaged in peddling falsehood without providing any shred of evidence of expatriate businesses, who were made to pay monies to enable them sit close to President Akufo-Addo during a recent Ghana Expatriate Business Awards.

Meanwhile, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa has urged Parliament to conduct full investigations into allegations that the Ministry of Trade and Industry sanctioned the charges that expatriate businesses were to pay at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards.

Source: GNA

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