Here are the ministerial hopefuls who should expect a tough vetting

In the coming days, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to release his list of ministerial nominees who will then go through vetting before getting approval to start their mandate.

Typical of a political party that is heading into its second term, a few former appointees may have had various brushes with either the law, opposition party members, the media, or the general public.

And with a near hung parliament, it is easy to guess that the opposition National Democratic Congress will have a strong say on the vetting committee and who gets the nod to be a minister in Akufo-Addo’s second term.

Here, we have listed a few personalities who should brace themselves for a showdown if they are nominated for appointments.

Ursula Owusu

CLOSURE OF RADIO STATIONS – Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful during her tenure as the Communications Minister refused to back down on the decision to withdraw the authorization of Accra-based Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
Due to her refusal to rescind her decision, the two ‘NDC-affiliated’ radio stations have remained closed for a long time as she has failed to restore their licenses.

The two stations were among some 54 radio stations that had been shut down on the instructions of the National Communications Authority (NCA) on May 9, 2019, under circumstances that have been widely condemned for allegedly not renewing their licenses.

KELNI-GVG SCANDAL– Earlier in 2020, Ursula was in hot waters following the contract which some Ghanaians waged relentless crusades against. The then Communications Ministry, headed by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful was accused of engaging in a fraudulent act solely to ‘rape’ the country with the award of a 10-year contract worth $178 million to Kelni-GVG.

Ursula Owusu was invited to Parliament several times to provide answers concerning the work the company that was awarded a contract to independently monitor the revenue of telecommunication companies in the country. She failed to show up on countless occasions.

Conduct during Parliament’s 8th inauguration Instances where she wrestled with some NDC MP’s in Parliament including its inauguration was publicized on TV and widely criticized by many. Ursula among other things pushed her colleagues, Mr. Collins Dauda to the floor and deliberately sat on the lap of Mr. Kwabena Mintah Akandoh over a seat and that could be used against her during vetting.

Peter Amewu

PDS SCANDAL– During his tenure as the Energy Minister, there were calls for him to resign following his involvement in the circumstances that led to the cancellation of takeover by the Power Distribution Services (PDS) from Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

He was accused of attempting to reappropriate shares to some NPP cronies through the proposed restrictive tendering.

HOHOE CONSTITUENCY BROUHAHA– The election of Mr. Amewu as the MP-elect for Hohoe was fraught with many arguments suggesting that he was not duly elected to represent the people of that constituency.

Following the ‘protest’, a Ho High Court presided over by Justice George Buadi granted an interim injunction restraining the EC from gazetting Mr. Amewu as the MP-elect for Hohoe.

This was due to the contention of the applicants that voters in Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi, (SALL) were only given the opportunity to vote in the Presidential election and not the parliamentary election.

Hawa Koomson

Nicknamed the ‘Rambo Minister’, she has been indicted in many scandals during her tenure in the past four years, In July 2020, Hawa Koomson breached security laws and fired gunshots into a crowd of citizens who were in the process of registering for the controversial voters’ ID card in Kasoa. This incident resulted in some casualties and loss of properties.
The Awutu Senay East MP was believed to be behind the shooting of some two persons who sustained gunshot wounds near the polling station in Kasoa after some men in a black SUV fired at them during the 2020 December general elections.

Ken-Ofori Atta

The Finance Minister during his first term was accused of engaging in a conflict of interest, bid-rigging and violation of procurement rules in his attempt to transfer Ghana’s mineral royalties into private hands under the guise of creating value for natural resources.

Many have called for the Minister’s resignation for his negotiation of the ‘very unpopular’ Agyapa Royalties deal adding that not act in good faith.

PDS SCANDAL -In this instance, his job was again on the line following a concession agreement with PDS in March 2019, signed by the government thereby handing over more than GH¢22 billion in assets of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Puis Enam Hadzide

The former Deputy Sports Minister was suspended in April 2018 after a probe into the circumstances that led to the arrest of some 60 Ghanaians who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by pretense in the 21st Commonwealth Games.

In April 2018, it emerged that 50 Ghanaians had been deported from Australia after they were deemed to be “non-genuine travellers” posing as journalists for the Commonwealth Games.

Mr Hadzide at that time insisted that he knew nothing about the scandal or how the 60 people who faked their identities got visas to Australia for the games.

Although he been exonerated from the scandal, it could be brought up against him during the vetting.

Mathew Opokuu Prempeh

Apart from being in the bad books of teachers due to the non-payment of allowances, delay in salaries and so on, the former Education Minister was reported to have been a beneficiary of GET-FUND scholarship meant for brilliant but needy students.

Cecilia Dapaa

Apart from the former Sanitation Minister’s claim that Accra is almost the cleanest city in Africa which many have criticized, she was also accused of wasteful expenditure in 2018 after being summoned by Parliament.

The accusation follows the allocation of some GHC151,000.00 in the 2019 budget estimate for the Ministry as security, clothing, and entertainment allowance.

Kyei Mensah-Bonsu

What is alleged to be his ‘dark past’ of Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu could be a topical issue when he appears before the vetting committee.

Some media reports have suggested that Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is said to be coy when it comes to any discussion of his days in secondary school where he was allegedly suspended for alleged burglary and unruly behaviour.

A letter of suspension from St. Peter’s Secondary School, a school Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is said to have attended in the mid-1970s, for allegedly breaking into the school’s stores, among others, is alleged to have been written to his father Mr J.K Addae, by the Assistant Headmaster, informing him of his ward’s activities in school. The suspension letter urged the co-operation of his parents for the suspension over their son’s conduct.

The reports said his original name was Lawrence Addae before the alleged incident which earned him disgrace in his teenage years until he decided to put his past behind, turn over a new leaf, and gained admission into the then University Science and Technology (now known as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology KNUST) for a Bachelor’s Degree in Designing.

Bryan Acheampong

Scores of individuals called for his resignation following the manner in which the case regarding the four missing Takoradi girls was handled.

His purported role in the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election and the dispatch of the armed military to the Volta Region during the 2020 general elections could also be his tragic flaw.

Source Ghanaweb