Former Youth and Sports Minister and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak is appearing before the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over the ‘pampers and khebeb’ scandal.
All things being equal, CHRRAJ boss Francis Emile Short and his team of lawyers will today start hearing the case in which the Minister was alleged to have blown over GH¢16.640 of the taxpayers’ sweat on his child’s pampers, food, oil and a host of other fleeting desires, he was said to have ordered for the release of over GH¢1.4 million to the Sports Council without the approval of the Chief of Staff.
Muntaka, who was barely four months in office, reportedly traveled with his girlfriend, Edith Zineuali, secretary to then Majority Leader in Parliament and now Minister for Works and Housing, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, to a tournament in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, and slept in a plush hotel, tossing the bills to the State.
Under the circumstance, Muntaka was said to have presented the lady as an employee of the Ministry of Youth and Sports when Ms. Zineuali was indeed a staff of the office of Parliament. He is thus being investigated by the Commission on allegations of abuse of office and conflict of interest which has earned him the nickname ‘Muntaka pampers.
This follows a complaint filed by a pressure group, Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) dated January 11, 2010, in which it asked CHRAJ to launch full-scale investigations into the circumstance under which the then Sports Minister “personally arranged for the accommodation of the Black Starts and officials in Navaisha, Kenya, in a pre-match camping against Sudan, without the involvement of any other official of the Ministry.”
PNF, through its Spokesperson Richard Kwesi Nyamah, also enjoined CHRAJ as an investigative body to look into the trip of the former Minister with his girlfriend to Germany with State support. CHRAJ suspended investigations into the allegations on Monday May 31, due to a petition filed by PNF, asking for a stay of proceedings because witnesses for the case were unavailable.
The Commission granted the petition pending the outcome of the court case field against the Attorney General by Albert Anthony Ampong and Adim Odoom, former chief director and principal accountant respectively of the Sports Ministry, both of whom are principal witnesses in the case.
Now that the case has been determined in court, they thought it was time to resume hearing. The group thus charged the Commission to cause the former minister to refund an amount of GH¢664.02 in respect of baby oil, baby food, mouth wash and other house hold items charged on the ministry’s imprest account.
PNF also alleged that the former Sports Minister requested GH¢1,000 per match for the services of a ‘mallam’ (spiritualist) and demanded cash immediately for the purpose, adding that “….. a director, Alhaji Abdullai Yakubu, was asked by Respondent to authorize payment without passing through the director, who is the spending officer”. Furthermore, the pressure group accused Muntaka of fraudulently using his office to acquire a German visa for his girlfriend, Edith Zineuali.
The group therefore wants criminal charges to be preferred against the former Minister for Youth and Sports where he was found to have engaged in any fraudulent act; and a declaration amongst others that he abused the trust and confidence reposed in him by the good people of the Republic of Ghana and his oath of office.
It is also asking CHRAJ to declare that the former minister was fraudulent in obtaining a German visa for his girlfriend. In spite of the fact that the national Security made adverse finding of impropriety against Muntaka when it investigated the case, President Mills only asked the former Minister to resign his position whilst no other punitive action was taken against him, except to be asked to refund money unlawfully spent.
The President and his advisors thought it ‘wise’ to interdict and later relieve the then Principal Accountant, Adim Odoom and the then Chief Director of the Ministry, Albert Ampong, on the grounds that they failed to ensure that laid down procedures were followed to guide the former Minister’ ‘reckless’ expenditure – a decision the Human Rights Court has overturned.
This was probably part of the reason the likes of presidential aide, Stan Dogbe are still hanging on to their jobs even after blowing over GH¢ 169,000 at the Ministry of Information on supposed hampers, when the money was meant for education campaign on the 2010 budget whilst the wrong persons, the Director of Information Service Department (ISD), Nee Agiri Banor had been made a ‘sacrificial lamb’.
Source: Daily Guide