…Over False Mahama South Africa Trip Publication
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has taken a swipe at the Accra-based, Daily Guide for claiming, Ghana’s High Commission in South Africa, made lavish payments on behalf of the then Vice- President, John Dramani Mahama and his family, when they traveled to that country in 2011.
The newspaper, published by the Acting Chairman of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Mr. Freddie Blay, in its April 12, edition claimed that, the High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, blew several thousands of Dollars on the trip embarked on by the Second Family in 2011.
According to a statement released in Accra by the Ministry, It has come to the attention of the Ministry that, a report in the Tuesday April 12, 2016, edition of the Daily Guide newspaper claiming that the Ghana’s High Commission, has not been reimbursed for payments it made on behalf of then Vice President John Mahama in 2011 is false.
“As was indicated at the hearings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament Chaired by Mr. Kweku Agyemen Manu, into the accounts of the Ministry for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, the mission made some protocol arrangements on behalf of the Office of the Vice President during a visit to South Africa in 2011 and incurred some costs,” the statement revealed.
The mission was, however, reimbursed by the Office of the President in 2013, in respect of the Vice President and also the former President Jerry Rawlings, following a review by the Ministry’s Audit Report Implementation Committee the statement maintained.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Hanna Serwah Tetteh, further informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the settlement of the bills during its sitting on Monday so it was wrong for the paper create the impression that the mission has not been reimbursed.
“It should be noted that the Ministry through the missions abroad provides protocol assistance to senior government officials who are entitled to these services abroad,” the statement added.
The Minister, in the statement explained that, these arrangements may involve making hotel reservations, and making arrangements for vehicles to be available to them during their stay and where the missions do not have enough vehicles of their own, vehicles are rented for the period that the Senior Official or former Presidents and former First Ladies stay abroad.
In countries, where electronic payments are the norm the mission may secure the reservations or vehicle rentals by credit cards and subsequently, wait till they receive reimbursement from the Government department responsible for the said expenditures.
In the case of the President or Vice President, Former President, former Vice President and their spouses, these are covered by the Office of the President, so it cannot be truth that the mission incurred that debt as claimed by the paper, the statement said.
Former President Rawlings, Former President Kufuor, former First Ladies, and the President and Vice President, are entitled to such protocol assistance, and they all have benefitted from same, during this administration.