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Monday, 13 July 2009

Ghana: Mills Interrogates Sports Minister Over Corruption Allegations

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

Bismark Bebli

4 June 2009

President Mills has interrogated his Minister of Youth and Sports, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarrak over allegations that he airlifted his girl friend, one Edith Zineuali to the finals of the CHAN tournament in Abidjan, which hotel bills were picked up by the state. This was after the President had been informed about the activities of the Minister at the Ministry.

Hon. Muntaka, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator for Asawase in the Ashanti Region is also being accused of allocating a VW Passat vehicle with registration number GT 1351 Z to his wife, contrary to laid down procedures at the Ministry.

This paper gathered that with the avalanche of allegations levelled against him, President John Evans Atta Mills summoned the honourable Minster to the Castle, where he was grilled over a number of hours, to provide answers to the allegations to enable action to be taken by government.

In a report prepared by Mr. Adim Odoom, the Principal Accountant at the Sports Ministry and sent to the President, he catalogued the allegations ranging from per diems that the Minister took, how the Minister single handedly managed issues with regard to the Ministry, how he requested a refund of GH¢5,200 with a receipt in the name of one Zinabu, in respect of meat and other food items purchased from the market, another GH¢674.02 also in respect of baby oil, baby food, mouth wash and other household items.

According to Mr. Odoom, the Minister also allegedly requested for GH¢1000 per match for the services of a Mallam and demanded the cash with immediate effect.

"The Hon. Minister collected $25,000 but released only $13,000 to the GFA for the payment of protocol. The GFA had actually spent $18,000 on the exercise," he said, adding that the Accountant and the Chief Director contacted the Minister but he could not defend his position.

He alleged that since his assumption of office, the Minister took US$2000 as imprest to cater for hotel bills and other expenses at the tournament, but rather made the imprest holder of the Ministry pay all his expenses, and he has refused to acknowledge receipt of the money.

Accordingly, he said, contrary to reports that some individuals sponsored the recent Cote d'Ivoire trip, the Minister had insisted on refund of which US$10,000 was released to him through the Chief Director of the Ministry.

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Apart from Hon. Muntaka taking GH¢2000 per diem for the match between the Blacks Stars and their Beninois counterparts at Kumasi, he requested the accounts office to purchase air return tickets for him, his wife and three children from Accra to Kumasi, and back.

In the last paragraph of the report, Mr. Odoom said, "In an attempt to help the Hon. Minister to run an efficient and effective office, the Accountant had on several occasions advised him on the right things to do. This has aroused the anger of the Hon. Minister and he has subsequently masterminded the transfer of the Accountant, Mr. A. Odoom from his office at the Ministry, an office he had occupied for only three months.'

He also alleged that currently the Minister uses five official vehicles, whilst other departments and senior officers have no vehicles, adding that this has drastically lowered the moral of the staff.

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