Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade, has said that there was no extortion in the organization of an award ceremony in which some tax exile businessmen were charged $100,000 to sit close to the president during the event.
Mr Kyerematen said in a statement that his attention has been drawn to a raging public debate on allegations of extortion of monies from expatriate business owners in the run-up to an awards event recently organized in Accra.
He wished to state categorically that neither His Excellency the President nor any official of the Presidency directly or indirectly, or even remotely was connected with the said event.
The President was invited as a Special Guest of Honor and he graciously accepted the invitation and attended the event. The management and organization of the event were initiated, directed and coordinated by the event organizers, the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) and facilitated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in line with its commitment to enhance Public-Private sector collaboration.
The structure, form, content and distribution of the Sponsorship package for the event are solely attributable to the event organizers, and the Ministry had no role in the design of the said package.
He added that as part of arrangements towards the organization of the event, the Ministry of Trade and Industry insisted that all monies raised in support of the event be paid into an Account held by the Ministry to ensure financial integrity and accountability which the organizers agreed to. It is, therefore, difficult to imagine how a government institution seeking to extort monies from individuals would insist on issuing official receipts.
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