A Ghanaian private legal practitioner and a rights activist Martin Kpebu has admonished the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu to apologize for his reaction and posture on the allegations of financial improprieties levelled against him.
Speaking on Newsfile, Mr Kpebu indicated that his posture whiles addressing Journalists on the allegations appeared belligerent, arrogant and purported to attack the journalists he was addressing.
This posture he added, is offensive to the provisions of the 1992 Constitution regarding arbitrariness and abuse of public office.
"Especially in times when a good number of our people are suffering and being denied of basic amenities coupled with a challenging economy...for the Director-General to address these issues of expenditures in the manner in which he did is quite unfortunate and unacceptable".
Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu(right)
It emerged that Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr. Kwame Owusu blew GHC135,125 (the old Ghana cedis equivalent of GHC1,351,250,000) one night on food and GHC10,652 on another occasion on food for just eight people.
The documents which showed the extent of wastage of public funds and conflict of interest was intercepted from NPP member and musician-Anti-corruption activist Kwame Asare Obeng popularly known as A-plus.
At a press briefing, the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority has admitted to owning the hotel where some ¢135,000 was spent on staff for an end-of-year dinner in December 2017.
Mr Kwame Owusu told journalists at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday that he has never denied owning the hotel as reports suggest and the appropriate procedures were followed in the award of the contract to the hotel.
“The Director-General [himself] has not refuted the allegation that he owns Luxe Suites Hotel so when I see some of you going to the hotel, taking pictures and putting them on social media, it is another journalistic mischief.”
He said although ¢135,000 was spent on food during the party, the claims that there were only 100 people present is inaccurate.
“It is true. There was a ¢135,000 on food for 500 people. It is in management records but some people have gone out to say that there were only 100 people. We have 200 workers and we had met and estimated that at least there will be a partner, child, girlfriend or wife that will make it 400.”
He continued, “we took into consideration the invitations of various stakeholders, ministers of state, ministries, MPs parliamentary select committee and other stakeholders, so we budgeted for additional 100.”
He further stated that the total amount also included the cost of music and DJ as well as fees for decoration and that “the Authority was so excited because since its inception, this was the only time they had an end-of-year party. So you can imagine the excitement.”
A Plus in his post on Facebook also alleged that on a different occasion, another request was made by the Director, Administration, for some ¢10,652 to be paid to same Luxe Suites Hotel as payment for food and drinks for eight people at a meeting.
Mr Owusu admits to spending the said amount but said he fed far more than eight people.
He said official documents on the payment states “cost of food supplied to the authority during the management meetings and stakeholders meetings on maritime security fees and charges at the head office.
“I think any academician would know that it cannot be eight participants,” he added.
He said details of every payment are available at the Authority and anyone willing to know more can request and see for themselves that every money spent is properly accounted for.
Mr Owusu said he will sue A Plus who he accuses of originating all the allegations against him.
He produced, during the press conference, a detailed WhatsApp conversation that he alleges was between him and A Plus who he claimed attempted to extort money from him.
Read also:Maritime Authority blows GH₵10,000 on lunch for eight (8) ?
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