The presidential aide who prides himself on being a consultant to the Ministry of Information, Stanislav Xoese Dogbe, and his former boss, Zita Sabah Okaikoi have been dragged to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to answer corruption allegations over the ¢1.69 billion hampers cash.
This follows a Daily Guide story in which Stan was allegedly found to have collected an amount of GH¢169,000 cash, the equivalent of ¢1.69 billion, under the pretext of using it to embark on an intensive public education campaign for the 2010 budget statement presented in November 2009, in the infamous ‘Dogbegate’ hampers scandal. Daily Guide revealed that at the time Stan Dogbe grabbed the cash in a ‘Ghana Must Go’ bag, he was not holding any appointment.
When the issue came out, Stan claimed to have used it for its intended purpose: to buy Christmas hampers to selected journalists and to influence articles published in the media, insisting that the money was approved by Zita Okaikoi, former Minister of Information as well as the Chief Director of the Ministry, Victor Horla Kwashie Senaya.
John Akologu Tia, who had just taken over from Zita as the Minister of Information when the story broke, did his best to defend Stan though he had barely settled at the Ministry and was yet to find his feet. This is what has compelled a group, Generational Youth Movement (GYM), to file a complaint with CHRAJ, asking the Commission to investigate the source of the money believed to have been taken from the Consolidated Fund.
The group wants to know whether the money was approved by Parliament, and if so, they want CHRAJ to verify all receipts and payments regarding the said amount.
GYM also wants to know why Stan, who claimed to be a presidential aide, should be responsible for the collection and expenditure of this amount and also why the said education on the budget did not fall within the realm of the Information Services Department.
The amount of GH¢169,000 was signed and approved by L.F. Dzakpa and first released to the Chief Director of the Ministry, with a payment voucher dated December 15, 2009 and handed over to Stan Dogbe.
The particulars of payment read, “Being released funds to enable the Minister to meet expenses on the public education campaign on the 2010 Financial Budget statement.”
Stan said the money was expended on activities like organizing an event for the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), radio and television interviews, paid-for feature articles in selected newspapers and a programme for editors of some media houses which were held before and during the 2009 Christmas which he said included hampers given to editors and reporters as Christmas gifts. IFEJ denied receiving any money from Stan or the Information Ministry.
Under normal circumstances, such government education campaigns are usually carried out by the Information Services Department (ISD) but the Director, who has since been booted out, Nee Agiri Barnor, was kept in the dark about the money cashed for the so-called education campaign.
Mr. Dogbe duly acknowledged receipt of the amount from the Principal Accountant of the Information Ministry with a receipt dated December 21, 2009 (3 days to Christmas), indicating it was to “Enable me to carry out public education on the 2010 annual budget.”