Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, yesterday challenged the wrong notion that expatriate businessmen who sat with President Akufo-Addo at the high table during the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards were made to pay $100,000 as a levy before being granted the opportunity to sit there.
The minister appeared before the ‘Cash for Seat’ committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament to probe the claim by the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the ministry extorted monies from expatriate business people before being given the opportunity to share the same table with the president at the event – which was organized at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra on December 4.
He was mad with Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in the Volta Region, for claiming that the money paid by the expatriates was extorted.
Mr Kyerematen said Ablakwa could not make value judgement on the allegation and at the same time call for a probe.
He said nobody was forced to pay any money and that some of the business persons who sat with the president never paid a dime.
During cross-examination by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for New Juaben South and member of the committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the minister said nobody was asked to pay anything and that people who sat on the presidential high table only decided to make voluntary contribution towards the successful organization of the event.
According to Mr Alan Kyerematen, it was only the chief executive officer (CEO) of Interplast Group of Companies, Saied Fakhry, who voluntarily donated an amount of $100,000 towards the programme; and even that money was paid after the event.
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