Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen has revealed that there were contributions by expatriate businessmen in the cash-for-seat saga even though none of them paid $100,000 in order to sit at the Presidential table as alleged.
Mr Kyerematen told the five-member committee hearing the case on Friday, January 12 that he personally sat at the table on the day of the event and that : “17 persons, including His Excellency the President” in total, were at the presidential high table on the night of the programme.
“Mr Chairman, for the avoidance of doubt, none of the persons mentioned made a contribution of $100,000 prior to the event,” he stated.
He further explained that: “There were representatives of organisations who did not make any monetary contributions before and after the event. There were three of them; these were individuals who were seated at the high table but made no contributions either before or after the event”.
Additionally, Mr Kyerematen told the committee that: “The number of persons on the list under reference who made contributions prior to the event were seven” adding that two individuals also made contributions after the event.
“I know that there was one individual who was seated on the high table who has come out publicly to confirm that he paid GHS 13,000,” he further clarified.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said charging expatriate businessmen as much as $100,000 to sit by President Nana Akufo-Addo at the awards event cannot be justified in any way.
According to him, there is everything wrong with that unacceptable arrangement.
Appearing before the same committee the previous day Mr Ablakwa said on Thursday, 11 January that: “The fundamental issue has to do with whether it is appropriate, whether it is moral, whether it is ethical, whether it is legal for access to our president His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be offered to the highest bidder.
“It is my contention that you cannot sell the prestige of the Office of the President, you cannot say that you are organising an award and that if you pay $100,000 or $75,000 you will be guaranteed access to the president first by sitting by him and secondly by having an exclusive private dinner with the president.
“It is my considered view that there is everything wrong with this arrangement, it is not appropriate, it cannot be justified in anyway,” he told the committee.