The Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, is fighting back accusation that she will be benefiting from GHC151, 000. 00 entertainment and clothing allowances contained in the Ministry’s 2019 budget.
Cecilia Abena Dapaah’s ministry, also blamed the Finance Ministry for committing a typographical error in the 2019 budget with respect to the Sanitation Ministry.
It said, “…….we wish to state that the Ministry has not engaged or recruited any security personnel. Indeed, no Ministry, including the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources recruits security personnel as part of its staff. The mention of security is a typographical error on the part of the Ministry of Finance”.
The GHC151, 000. 00 which caused a stir in Parliament, last week, has been described as the biggest allowances in the history of any state budget.
But the Minister insists the 2019 budget approved by Parliament, did not include any allowance to her contrary to what had been reported widely.
In a rejoinder to The Herald, the former Aviation Minister, said the clothing and entertainment allowances stated in the Ministry’s budget were Personal Emolument approved by the Fair Wages Commission for Categories A and B Officers in the Civil Service.
The statement which was issued on behalf of the Minister by the acting Chief Director Joseph Obeng Opoku, continued that, these allowances do not include the Minister.
“It must be emphasized that the Ministry’s budget, as approved by the Ministry of Finance, does not include any allocation of allowance to the Sector Minister in relation to clothing and entertainment as stated by your Newspaper.
These clothing and entertainment allowances are Personnel Emoluments approved by the Fair Wages Commission for Categories A and B Officers in the Civil Service, which include Chief Directors and Directors and is part of their Consolidated Salary. We wish to state that the payment of these allowances does not include Ministers.
It is therefore inaccurate and inappropriate to allude the payment of these allowances to the Minister Hon. Cecilia AbenaDapaah”, the statement said.
Madam Dapaah’s rejoinder comes on the heels of a 48 hour ultimatum she issued to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bodi in the Western Region, Sampson Ahi, after the MP accused her of benefiting from the said budget.
“I, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, am not in any way and by any stretch of imagination benefiting or getting any budget allocation for clothes and entertainment as MP for Bodi, Hon Sampson Ahi, alleges” She said.
“I ask Hon. Ahi to apologize and withdraw within 48 hours with the same publicity that the defamatory remarks were published.”
Earlier, Mr. Ahi, who first raised the issue on the floor of Parliament expressed shocked at the amount allocated to the Ministry, said nothing of the sort existed when he served as a deputy minister. The MP, who is the Ranking Member on Water Resources Works and Housing Committee in Parliament, said it was unheard of and called it a duplication..
He was quoted as having said; “When I was there (Water Resources Works and Housing Ministry), I was never given a clothing and entertainment allowance. Recruitment into the security is about GHC 81,000. Watchman allowance GHC36, 000. Clothing allowance GHC 18,000 and another entertainment allowance GHC 16,000. They are duplicating the expenses” he stated.
The Herald’s story captioned “Cecilia Dapaah getting GHC151, 000.00 for clothes and entertainment” also said in parts that “The amount is different from what she will be taking home at the end of every month as her salary”. But the Minister refutes the claim and insists she is not in any way benefitting from the said allocation.
The rejoinder also said, it was inaccurate the mentioned of “security” in the budget because as far as they know the Ministryhas not recruited any such security personnel. It said the mention of security personnel was a typographical error from the Finance Ministry.
It also indicated that the Sanitation and Water Resources and the Finance Ministries have employed the services of four (4) Directors for the Sanitation Directorate to add to the staff strength of the new Ministry.
The salaries of the four whoare: one assistant Public Health Engineer and Three (3) assistant Environmental Health Technologists,is estimated to cost the Ministry, some GHC89, 000.00, which was mentioned in the budget.
“On the issue of recruitment of security personnel, we wish to state that the Ministry has not engaged or recruited any security personnel. Indeed, no Ministry including the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources recruits security personnel as part of its staff. The mention of security is a typographical error on the part of the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry with the approval of the Ministry of Finance gave financial clearance for the recruitment of four (4) Directors for the Sanitation Directorate to beef up the sanitation staff at the Ministry. The GHC89, 000.00 estimated in the budget is for the salaries of these 4 officers.
Details are available at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the Ministry of Finance for verification”.
The Minister’s statement concluded saying, “Based on these facts, we should be most grateful if you will take the necessary steps to correct the report which was very misleading for the facts to be stated as the Minister Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has nothing to do with the payment of these allowances.
It is our expectation that your newspaper will always cross check information on our Ministry prior to future publications to avoid the occurrence of wrongful and misleading reportage which has the tendency to create public resentment for the Sector Minister and by extension, the Ministry.
We therefore expect a retraction of the story and the rejoinder giving the same prominence as the earlier publication being responded to. Thank you”.