Three ex-Mahama appointees have been cautioned by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service with a charge of stealing and are to reappear before the CID on 14 May.
They are Inusah Fuseini, former Lands and Natural Resources Minister; Comfort Doyoe Ghansah, former Minister of State in charge of Social and Allied Institutions and Eric Opoku, former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister. They were interrogated on Tuesday, 17 April.
Meanwhile, Mr Fuseini has said even though he received certain payments when he served as Minister of state and MP under the erstwhile Mahama administration, it does not constitute receipt of double salary.
Speaking in an interview on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen political talk show after his time with the CID, he maintained that he “never set out to receive double payment and I still believe I have never received double payment. I believe that the payments that were given to me were part and the same payment that made up my salary and that the Auditor-General and the Accountant General were instructed to reconcile those payments with the payment I was entitled to before I was paid my net”.
According to him, his understanding was that “the top up was legitimate monies that were coming from the Flagstaff House through government machinery to complement what I was receiving from parliament by reason of the fact that I was a minister of state”, adding: “Those advances were one and the same, they complemented each other, that is how I saw it”.
He, however, indicated that the situation, which has been described as inappropriate hence their invitation by the CID, “is a system failure, and, so, if it is a system failure, we need to address the system comprehensively. So, you go back and look at all the circumstances similarly placed then you deal with the system”.
He further stated: “I clearly think that I have no bad motive, I had no ill motive, I did not with the intention of defrauding the state, receive double salaries”.
He explained that such a situation in the public service, “is dealt with differently; if the person is paid monies which he is not entitled to or spend money which he is not entitled to spend, they ask him to refund… and another reason why I say it is criminally targeted is that I think that this matter should not have gone that way”.
He pointed out that: “If you are addressing a system failure, if there is no criminal intent, you don’t address it through criminal action. You address it by looking at the system and drawing people’s attention to the fact that there is a systemic failure, benefits have been conferred on and they should return those benefits”
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu and Second Deputy Speaker Alban Bagbin have also been accused of receiving double salaries as Ministers and Members of Parliament during the era of former President Mahama.
The former appointees have denied the allegations insisting this is a clear case of political witch-hunt.
Twenty-five lawmakers were initially invited by the police CID, but 18 of them were later asked to disregard that invitation.
At a press conference addressed by the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority said the move was attempts by government to hound and intimidate them into silence by using the CID to embark on a fruitless fishing expedition against their former appointees.
According to the NDC legislators, the move is intended to silence and cow them into submission so President Akufo-Addo and his government can get away with whatever ills are happening in society.