The family and friends menace, which is eating deep into the Akufo-Addo government, manifested itself yet again on the President’s trip to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly meeting in New York – America, with shocking pictures of two sisters of First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, also on the trip.
It is not clear, what they are on the trip for, but they were seen excitedly congratulating President Akufo-Addo in the UN building, moments after his 15-minute address to the General Assembly.
It is also unclear, how they secured their visas and whether or not the taxpayer’s money was used to pay for their trip, which would have included the cost of plane ticket, hotels, food and travelling allowance.
Also on the 72nd Session of the United General Assembly trip with President Akufo-Addo, was the First Lady herself, who is obviously giving her two sisters a taste of a Presidential trip to America.
Reports are rife that the UN trip had over 190 people and 25 traditional rulers, especially from the Akyem Traditional Area of the Eastern Region.
Interestingly, Council of State Chairman, who is the Omanhene of Asante Juaben in the Ashanti Region, Nana Otuo Siriboe II ,was seen on the UN trip celebrating his birthday.
He was seen in the company of the President, the First Lady and Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, cutting a birthday cake.
It is not clear what his presence on the trip is and whether or not the Council of State is the institution paying for his expenses on the trip.
Another family member of President Akufo-Addo found on the UN trip was his nephew; Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, who has persistently denied playing a role in his uncle government.
Otchere-Darko’s presence on the trip, has forced a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, to question in which capacity, he joined the government delegation at the UN General Assembly meeting last Thursday.
Mr. Otchere-Darko, just days ago, issued a statement on his Facebook wall denying suggestions that he is an appointee of the president.
On August 22, he wrote on his wall, “For the avoidance of doubt, I do not work at the presidency and lack the luxury to hang around the presidency doing Kokonsa. I run a law firm, Africa Legal Associated, Labone, where my job is to pursue the legal/corporate (legitimate) interests of my clients…”
The latest development has, however, generated a heated debate on social media, with many asking if the private legal practitioner, is indeed a presidential appointee or not.
Commenting on the matter on 3FM’s midday news, Friday, Dr Apaak queried, “In what capacity does the president’s cousin appear at the UN general assembly and sitting among delegates who by and large are supposed to be government appointees?”
The former presidential staffer, also indicated that he expects the presidency to provide the full list of delegates who attended the programme.
He did not end there. He also told host, Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah that, “I think this also raises a bigger issue. We should be asking for the presidency to put in the public domain, the list of staffers at the office of the presidency. This way we can be sure that those who are there in their capacity as presidential staffers and not family members who are seeking to take advantage of their relative being at the helm of affairs”
There has not been any official response from government or Gabby Otchere –Darko yet. But opinions remain divided over whether the issue is “a big deal” or not.
Meanwhile, a video which has gone viral on social media, captured Gabby Otchere –Darko being hooted at by aggrieved demonstrators who accused him of corrupt acts, including charging people US$20, 000, before seeing President Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Otchere Darko is seen walking off together with Samuel Atta Mensah of Citi FM, but the demonstrators who follow them, hurled insults at them, accusing them of blowing taxpayers’ money on the trip and other things.
Ghanaians resident in the US, last Thursday, September 21st 2017 at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza East at the 47th and 1st street, staged a demonstration themed; “Ghana is not safe under Nana Addo’s government”.
The demonstration, which took place near the UN building, was against President Akufo-Addo. It was planned to coincide with his presence at the UN for the General Assembly in the US. They shouted Nana Addo is a thief!, Bawumia is a thief!.
They also accused the government of lying to them to secure their votes by promising to ease import duties, but it had rather been increased astronomically with the goods stuck at the ports due to their inability to pay.