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BNI Chases Ex-DCEs

Justice Douse

Justice Douse

CHAIRMAN OF the Commission of Inquiry probing the activities of Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, Justice Isaac Douse, has given a one-week ultimatum to former Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives who have refused to appear before the Commission, stressing that his outfit will resort to the use of security agencies particularly, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), to arrest them.

Justice Douse said the Commission is compelled to take that decision because the DCEs have refused to appear before it to answer charges brought against them after being served with a subpoena.

The probe chairman, who gave the warning soon after the Chief Executive of Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, Dr. Charles Wereko- Brobby aka Tarzan,  had testified before the Commission, stressed that the best way to get the former DCEs was to send the security agencies to smoke them out of their hide out.

However, in a reaction, former Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Kwadwo Mpiani, said it would be improper for security agencies to go after the former DCEs, suggesting that the Commission should allow them to come out willingly.

In his view, a number of the DCEs were out of the country while some were not following proceedings of the Commission to know whether they had been implicated or not, hence, the Commission should not resort to the use of BNI to get them.

Mr Mpaini therefore assured the Commission of his readiness to furnish them with information and addresses of the former DCEs; but the Commission’s Chairman stressed that if the former DCEs refuse to come out voluntarily after next week when the curtains are drawn down on the probe, the Commission would have no other option but to resort to the use of security agencies.

He admitted that some of the former DCEs were nowhere to be found while others had decided to use radio stations to refute allegations leveled against them. “The Commission does not believe in radio refutation,” the Chairman added.

It would be recalled that a number of allegations were made against former Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives by Coordinating Directors of the various district assemblies who appeared before the Commission.

Earlier, the Chief Executive of the defunct Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, told the Commission that the then government spent $5,000 a month each on house rents for visiting Heads of State at the Trassacco Valley during the anniversary celebrations.

Although such incredible amounts were paid, these Heads of State, he explained, only stayed for a maximum of four days because owners of the properties were unwilling to accept anything less than a month’s rent.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, who appeared before the Commission yesterday to continue with what had been described by many as a grilling process, said the Trassacco Valley donated 10 houses which government had to furnish, whereas the other Villa it rented, did not see any furnishing. As a result, the Secretariat contracted Alpha Properties to give an inventory at the sum of GH¢45,000 per house.

After the furnishers had completed their work at Trassacco, he noted that the remaining products were also used to give finishing touches to nine houses at the AU Village in La. The African Union Development Consortium (AUDCL) was contracted by the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat to put up 30 houses at La and Ridge respectively to accommodate Heads of State who attended both the AU Summit and Ghana’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

However, 15 of the houses were later sold by Government to settle outstanding debts while the remaining 15 were handed over to AUDCL to also defray their cost of the project. He said it was the then government’s intent to keep those houses at Ridge as official assets.

A member of the Commission, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, asked him if it was not cost effective booking hotel accommodations in advance as compared to renting hotels for a specified period. In response, Dr. Wereko-Brobby affirmed that it was indeed cost effective and that government gained considerably more than it invested. It made a profit of GH¢8.25million in the sale of those houses.

Government, he continued, fulfilled its obligation as a host nation to the AU Heads of State. Besides infrastructure, the CEO also touched on how the Secretariat undertook initiatives including sanitation, logistics, souvenirs and other Ghana @ 50 projects.

He said as part of the celebrations, the outfit embarked on massive renovations across the country. Notable among them were putting the Independence Square into good shape and facilitating both the National Theatre and the Trade Fair Centre to get some equipment since they equally generated income to the state.

Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby said substantive rehabilitation works went into toilet facilities and rest stops in the regions. He said though government wanted 50 of them, it was able to execute 25 rest stops during the first phase.

The projects, he emphasized, were very important and needed to be completed because as he put it, sanitation is extremely necessary. Moreover, he disclosed that 240 people were recruited under the National Youth Employment Programme to serve among other duties as helping hands.

Again, he indicated that GH¢150,000 was given to coordinating councils in each region to execute their own projects. Dr. Wereko-Brobby, who directed most of his answers to the office of the then president, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Administrations and bodies, was considered by the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Isaac Douse, as being cheeky with the way and manner he went about answering questions during cross examinations by Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, a member of the Commission.

Mr. Osei Tutu Prempeh, another member of the commission, noted that it was Dr. Wereko-Brobby’s responsibility to monitor activities of people contracted to take up certain tasks due to his position as the CEO.

In response, Tarzan indicated that he did not believe that regional ministers ought to have been under him. “I could not in any shape or form presume that they were working under me,” he maintained, adding that “the Secretariat was not set up by government to police Regional Ministers and District Chief Executives.”

He was advised by the Chair to substitute the word police to supervisors, which he gladly obliged. He said he would furnish the Commission with documents in due course.

Source: dailyguideghana

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